Ross Brawn has again said that he remains confident that Formula One world champion Jenson Button will remain with his eponymous team in 2010, despite no agreement being reached between the two parties.
The team has been at pains to stress that it has not been pursuing a decision from its star until after this weekend's F1 finale in Abu Dhabi, but Brawn has already been quoted as saying that he is '99 per cent' certain that Button will be back to defend his title with the Brackley-based operation next season. Button, when asked for his opinion at Yas Marina, said that he wouldn't be prepared to put a percentage on anything, but agreed that there hadn't been any hard and fast negotiations while the world title was being decided.
"Of course I want to keep Jenson in the team, so we are working hard to find the solution to keep Jenson in the team," Brawn confirmed to journalists at the season finale, "He has done a fantastic job this year and I think he will be even stronger in the future with this championship behind him.
"But we agreed that we would get through the championship, and agreed that nothing would happen for a few weeks after
the championship, so the next two weeks will be pretty busy.
"I see the way Jenson works with the team, and I see the way we work with him. I think we have given him the equipment this year to show what he can do, and he knows our plans for the future. We have got another little matter that we have got to sort out, but I am sure we will find a resolution to that, and that's why I am reasonably confident."
Driver deals aside - Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello is expected to swap seats with Williams' Nico Rosberg for 2010 - Brawn has been able to reflect on a fairy-tale debut season, and was quick to pay tribute to those working behind the scene, both at the track and the Brackley factory.
"It probably wasn't until I got back to the factory that I appreciated how much it had meant to a lot of our people, because they have been there a long time and not had any success - the team had won one race up until this year," Brawn reflected, "We have still got people there from the very beginning of this version of the team, as the team goes back as far as Tyrrell. It is a long-standing team, but guys did come up and say 'we have worked a very long time for this' and it was special to go back and share the pleasure of the championships with a lot of the people who had been working hard for so long.
"They never gave up. We had such a difficult winter with no clear vision of where the team was going and the guys still worked enormous hours, made enormous commitments, worked their weekends and did everything that was needed, not even knowing if they were going to go past February. So it has been very special in many ways and, for me, it was quite exceptional because of the contrast of where we were over the winter and where we are now."
Brawn also paid tribute to the support that he had received from the entire F1 fraternity in attempting to resurrect something from the ashes of Honda.
"I think [BMW Sauber's] Mario [Theissen], to a fair degree, is seeing it now, but F1 does come together when teams are in difficulty," he noted, "We had a lot of support from everyone during that period. We have our fierce competition, but I am glad to say F1 still sticks together to help each other when teams are in difficulty.
"I would also like to say the championship has been fought in a great spirit. I know, sometimes, the media likes grief or needle in the championship, but I must say this championship has been notable for the spirit in which it has been fought. Good battles, good spirit within the teams and, for me, obviously with the results that we had, a great championship to be proud of."