Jenson Button has admitted that he is prepared to focus on securing this year's Formule One world title before returning to the negotiating table to secure his future with the Brawn GP team.
The Briton holds a 15-point lead over team-mate Rubens Barrichello with three races remaining, but neither driver has signed a deal to remain with Brawn, having agreed to help the team establish itself from the remain of Honda over the winter.
Button took a pay-cut to aid the rescue bid, but his management team is now pushing for a new deal commensurate with the Briton's status as title contender - and potential world champion. Richard Goddard, who overseas Button's business affairs, has confirmed that the least he is expecting is to see his client's salary restored to its previous £8m level - even though that would still leave him some way behind predecessors Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.
Team boss Ross Brawn, however, is reportedly playing hard ball and offering only a minimal raise.
“I am shocked by the offer,” Goddard told Britain's Daily Star
, revealing that Button has also been paying his own travel expenses in 2010, “We aren't being greedy. When we signed the deal last year, we did so in the knowledge that, if all went well for the team, things would also go well for Jenson.”
Button, who won six of the first seven races of 2009, is known to want to remain with a team that has made him feel at home, but has vowed to put money matters to one side, at least until the title is secured. The 29-year old needs to score five points more than Barrichello to clinch the crown at Suzuka, but anticipates the battle going into the final two rounds, in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“Money? That's something I don't want to talk about," he insisted, “I want to get the championship done and then I'll look at the other things. Ross still values me – I hope.”
Brawn himself insists that no decisions have been taken regarding his line-up for 2010, but admits that losing either driver - particularly one that wins the world title - would be 'a shame'.