Brawn set to extend Button’s contract – but will he get a new team mate?

Should Rubens Barrichello stay at Brawn for 2010?

Should Rubens Barrichello stay at Brawn for 2010?

On the eve of the Australian Grand Prix it emerged Jenson Button had accepted a pay cut in the region of ??12-15m to stay at Brawn GP following the withdrawal of Honda.

Now, with a healthy lead in the world championship, he is tipped to sign a new multi-year deal with Brawn.

Button looks set to stay – but will Rubens Barrichello remain as his team mate?

Barrichello at Honda and Brawn

Rubens Barrichello’s F1 future was written off at the end of last season as many expected the most experienced F1 driver ever to be dropped by Honda in favour of sponsor-friendly GP2 racer Bruno Senna.

But after Honda put its team up and Brawn took over, Barrichello’s F1 career was saved.

By the end of this year he’ll have amassed 284 Grand Prix starts. Another full season in 2010 could but him past the 300 mark. But will he get another contract extension?

Barrichello joined Honda in 2006. He was largely out-performed by Button in their first two years as team mates, but Barrichello turned the tables last, most notably with an excellent podium finish in the streaming wet British Grand Prix.

However Button has beaten him in all six races so far this year, taking five wins and a third place. Barrichello has said he felt the modifications made to the BGP001 at the Spanish Grand Prix better suited his driving style, but he is yet to make that improvement count on race day.

After the Spanish race Barrichello revealed his frustration with his race strategy, which left him vulnerable to being passed by Button, leading to suggestions that Brawn was favouring its championship leader. The team rejected the claims.

It isn’t necessarily the case that if Barrichello is under-performing Brawn might seek to replace him. He continues to display the qualities that made him the perfect number two to Michael Schumacher – even if he is adamant that his contractually inferior status to Schumacher at Ferrari is not being replicated with Button at Brawn.

A new team mate for Button?

If Brawn did want to replace Barrichello, to whom might they turn?

They aren’t likely to be short of suitors. Most F1 drivers are due to have their contracts renewed this year, including Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica, Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Nico Rosberg and (presuming the Ferrari rumours aren’t true) Fernando Alonso.

Outside F1 we find a crop of promising talent including Bruno Senna, Lucas di Grassi, Paul di Resta (linked to Mercedes via the DTM, but likely to be disadvantaged by sharing the same nationality as Button) and Romain Grosjean (though likely to end up at Renault).

Are any of these drivers a better prospect for the team than Barrichello? Or should he get to stay with the team and become the first driver to start more than 300 races?

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84 comments on Brawn set to extend Button’s contract – but will he get a new team mate?

  1. Brawn said on 28th May 2009, 15:37

    It would be exiting to have Alonso in the seat but as already mentioned he wouldnt join a team not based around him. Rubens will keep his seat i think, Even though not at Buttons level yet, he’s still perfoming and 2nd in the championship.
    I still think Braun shavers should be the main sponsor.

    • I still think Braun shavers should be the main sponsor.

      If only in a barter deal, supplying the likes of Ross Brawn, Jenson Button and Richard Bransons. Just too many bearded men for any one team to handle.

    • Wesley said on 28th May 2009, 21:53

      “I still think Braun shavers should be the main sponsor.”

      I don’t think Jense and Ross would be the best posible spokesmen for an electric razor.

  2. TommyB said on 28th May 2009, 16:05

    Would be nice to see a rookie try and compete with Jenson. Barrichello is clearly useless and should retire at the end of the year after a competitive season.

    As long as Nando or Lewis doesn’t go there I’d be happy, yes I’d love them to win but I wouldn’t be seen dead in a Brawn GP shirt

  3. Moe said on 28th May 2009, 16:27

    I think Rubens should stay.. As long as he is making a good performance..

  4. Lobo said on 28th May 2009, 16:49

    For many reason Rubinhoshould stay for next season. He is a team-oriented driver, works well with Brawn (and apparently with Button), has a great deal of experience and knows the business upside down. He is a very good #2 driver as well. No reason for him to go, at least not form the moment.

  5. Leaf said on 28th May 2009, 16:49

    Hate to say it but if Jenson wins the WC this year Ruebens is gone in favor of another younger driver. By that time he will have done alot of development of the car and Brawn will be comfortable enough to move away from the “established” driver lineup that they felt necessary this year due to the new car/team etc. They will also save a few bucks and be able to budget Jenson for that large contract enticement to stay on.

  6. Chaz said on 28th May 2009, 16:53

    Rubens should stay on for at least another year. I has proved he is more than capable passionate and enthusiastic…

    • Chaz said on 28th May 2009, 16:55

      oops I meant to say “He has proved…”

      By the way, what happened to the edit feature….

  7. Jess said on 28th May 2009, 16:54

    I see that he is doing fine this year and I cant see why they would want to replace him.

  8. antonyob said on 28th May 2009, 16:56

    Much as though Button is the better prospect i much prefer watching Barrichello, especially incar views. His much flashier balls out style is both more entertaining and more instructive into what an f1 driver actually does. Button does make tiny adjustments to balance the car but it doesnt show on Tv or even when you watch him through a corner like Blanchemont in the flesh. So i hope he gets a drive next season, hes one of the few left that entertains.

  9. It is foolish to pick anyone but Ruebens,
    1.If Button fell out of any of his winning grand prix, Reubens would be in the lead or tied for first in the series.
    2.He’s played the role of #2 before, knows it well, and is there to pounce at every race.
    3.Setup, you want to know why he’s great, 2 words Luca Badoer, he’s learned from the best tester/setup man on the planet (don’t believe me, look at all Michael Schumacher’s championships but 2, there’s Luca looming in the back). Ross Brawn loves great tester/setup guys. As much as they’ll whine, he knows why he needs Reubens.
    4. Senna is just going to crash and learn not go out and score points that the team needs to win a championship. If you want a championship, keep Reubens, it’s that simple.
    5. As for the Hammy thoughts, I seriously doubt he’s switching around. I can’t see them wanting to share (Between Button and Hammy).

  10. ConcedoNulli said on 28th May 2009, 17:49

    If not Rubens then Adam Carroll (ex BAR Honda test driver 2005 and current A1GP drivers champion). Unfortunately that would mean two Brits in the team.

    • TommyB said on 28th May 2009, 18:16

      That would be disappointing. A1GP drivers are very amateur. A top driver should sign for them and not just a filler driver.

    • Bigbadderboom said on 28th May 2009, 18:45

      There is a bit of a class difference between A1GP and F1, not sure Adam is good enough to test even.

    • TommyB said on 28th May 2009, 18:47

      Agreed. That explains the ridiculous collisions during races. Makes it exciting though!

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 28th May 2009, 21:42

      Adam Carroll is Irish, isn’t he? He drives for A1 GP Ireland.

  11. Ben Grimes said on 28th May 2009, 18:52

    I would have Bruno Senna or Lucas di Grassi.

    Both are very quick and where top drivers in GP2 last year. Both Had F1 test experience and seem like quick learners.

    Id rather have Senna in the car, but you cant overlook di Grassi.

    • TommyB said on 28th May 2009, 21:43

      @HounslowBusGarage Yes he does drive for team Ireland… see if you can work out where he’s from :-P

  12. Love to see Rubens win a few races this year, then for 2010 alonso to Ferrari and Massa to Brawn.

    • TommyB said on 28th May 2009, 22:46

      I can’t see Rubens winning a race this year. He’s past it. Button is out driving him and the Brawn is too reliable

    • pSynrg said on 28th May 2009, 23:36

      Massa is great at Ferrari and has shown flashes of brilliance.
      I think though that he would sink as a driver in any other team…

  13. 1994fanatic said on 28th May 2009, 22:04

    Also that dude that was talking about braun razors, I remember Tyrell I think they were running around with their sponsorship before. I miss Ken, he was great. Anyways whats with that shady looking beardish thing Button has on his face. He may drive the coolest cars on earth but atleast I can grow a good looking beard, Ha! He seems like a nice enough guy though so good for him. Yo Keith, the guy that runs this newly found great website, wanna write a column to see who the best F1 pairing has been and see the comments about that?

  14. bikouros said on 28th May 2009, 23:40

    I’ve got nothing against Barichello, but I’m just sick of seeing the same old faces in F1. Sign Senna. Lets see what he’s got.

  15. IDR said on 29th May 2009, 0:13

    If Brawn did want to replace Barrichello, to whom might they turn?

    Kimi, no doubt for me.

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