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The clock ticks for Button

NEWS STORY
27/04/2007

It's an all too familiar scenario.

A politician is caught in flagrante with an unhappy hooker in a seedy hotel, or worse, claims to have been 'mugged' for his mobile phone while walking his Bichon Frise on Clapham Common... within hours he is holding a photo-shoot, surrounded by his smiling (grimacing) wife and children claiming that all is well.

Then there's the football team that calls a press conference, the directors eager to confirm that they stand by their manager, despite the long run of bad results.

They know the truth, we know the truth.

Therefore we can all be excused for allowing ourselves to mutter "yeh right" when Jenson Button's manager Richard Goddard claims that all is well and that the English driver has no intention of jumping ship at Honda.

After years of mismanagement one can only hope that Jenson has finally found someone who is looking after his interests, and if he has then it is ludicrous to be claiming that the driver is not looking for something better than a team which after three races hasn't come close to helping him score a single point.

If Button and his management are sincere then one has to wonder if the 27-year-old has given up any hope of winning the world Championship, and will merely content himself with adding a few more podiums to his tally whilst picking up his generous pay-packet from his Japanese employers. For if Button remains as competitive as he claims to be, if he still has championship ambitions then he - and his manager - have to be looking elsewhere.

Much like a band is as good as its last album/single, and an actor is as good as his last movie, a racing driver is judged on his most recent results and his chances of challenging for wins.

As he struggles with the RA107, Button's stock falls that little bit lower, race by race. Furthermore, as any member of the ITV crew will remind him, he is no longer Britain's great white hope, there is a new kid on the block.

Loyalty is all very well, but as we know from Buttongates 1 and 2, loyalty is not a word that figures prominently in the Englishman's vocabulary. During those two summers of legal wrangling Button insisted he was doing what he thought best for him, and one has to wonder at this time, what, other than money, the current Honda set up can really give him.

All too often under Nick Fry's management, the Honda F1 Team resembles Tony Blair's government, whereby spin is everything.

We have said before and we'll say it again, what exactly would Ross Brawn have to gain by joining Honda? In many respects - unless he was given the top job, that of team principal - it would be a lose/lose situation, and one that he doesn't need.

Then again, perhaps Fry realises that he has no real chance of recruiting the former Ferrari Technical Director, but appreciates that such media speculation will appease his bosses in Japan, and his drivers.

No doubt the guys at Brackley are working their rocks off and they will feel as thoroughly disheartened as the rest of us, especially when, despite the spin, there seems to be no end to the current crisis, and mark our words this is a crisis.

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