Button winning the PR battle…

…and he's said nothing.

A couple of days ago I blogged about how I thought F1 world champion Jenson Button should move to McLaren. And he has. His old team, Brawn GP, don't seem to have taken the move very well at all, especially this fella, Nick Fry, the team's CEO.

Someone – maybe Ross Brawn himself (who, typically, seems to be keeeping a dignified silence) or Fry's new bosses at Mercedes, should tell Fry to rein in his ire and concentrate on getting the team ready for 2010. At the moment, Fry's obvious bitterness at losing Button is also, in my view, likely to lose the team a huge amount of the goodwill and support that it attracted over the past year.

Fry's been quoted extensively in a number of places. Most of the quotes seem to have been lifted from this Autosport Q&A.

A lot of people assumed that Button was moving to guarantee a bigger pay packet. He denied this, and Fry confirmed it: "We understand that our offer to Jenson may well have been in excess of what he might be getting with McLaren." Fry also couldn't resist a dig: "I think Jenson is going to have to up his game if he's going to beat Lewis on home territory."

So Fry managed to misread the motivation of a sporting champion; a greater sporting challenge, not money. I'm delighted to hear that Button moved because he wants to take on the biggest possible challenge he can – facing Lewis Hamilton in the same car. That's brilliant. He may get blown into the weeds by Hamilton (I don't actually think that'll happen) but if he is then at least he'll have measured his own talent against the best and will know. He's also signed a multi-year deal, so even if he is shocking at McLaren then he's secured a very significant financial future (to add to the one he'd already built).

A rather childish bitterness drips from Fry's Q&A: "…we did make what we thought was a very generous offer for a new contract which was significantly in excess of frankly spurious figures that were put out to the press over the past week or so…we were a little distressed to read in the press that there were questions over whether the other driver would get favoured treatment which we did think was somewhat insulting…I respect his decision. It's not one that I would have made and maybe he has been poorly advised…loyalty would be nice but in this day and age you don't expect too much of that…"

Fry is also quoted in The Guardian in a story detailing how Brawn are holding Button to the letter of his contract: "Jenson will not be doing anything at all for McLaren until the end of this calendar year. And if he does, we will be looking on it very dimly."

I'm sure Button can manage to occupy himself for, umm, the next six weeks or so…

My final Fry quote is this: "We don't understand the logic of the decision."

I think the logic of the decision is this: Button isn't primarily motivated by money, he's motivated by the greatest sporting challenge. For him Lewis Hamilton in the same car represents that. McLaren is a team with a history of success, masses of experience and the resources to produce a race-winning car (which was proven during the latter half of the 2009 season, when Brawn's performance was going backwards).

Seems fairly logical to me.

Fry's in a hole. He should stop digging. He shouldn't have engaged in press interviews when the emotions were still clearly so raw. By saying nothing, Jenson's looking pretty damn good right now.

Advertisements

One thought on “Button winning the PR battle…

  1. Chris Wright says:

    They’ll both be looking over their shoulders after Xmas. Louis and Jody are getting their first Scalextric.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: