Speculation about the future of F1 champion Jenson Button has increased after the Briton became the latest visitor to McLaren's Woking headquarters.

Following in the footsteps of Kimi Raikkonen's management team earlier this week, Button and manager Richard Goddard visited the McLaren Technology Centre on Friday to be given a guided tour by team principal Martin Whitmarsh, according to a report in the Guardian.

While a McLaren spokesman was quoted as saying that Button had 'made a small detour to say hello' after flying in to Heathrow, the 'paper claims that the new champion could turn his back on Brawn GP to seal a deal which would see him partner Lewis Hamilton in an all-British line-up for 2010.

The report also suggests that terms could be finalised on a deal as early as next week, which would give McLaren a pairing comprising the last two F1 champions for the 2010 campaign.

Button's future at Brawn GP has been thrown into doubt following a row over money, with the Briton having taken a pay cut to remain with the team following the management buy-out led by Ross Brawn after Honda withdrew from F1.

On the back of securing the 2009 drivers' title, Button is now seeking to increase his wage again for next season, although no agreement has been reached with his team.

That comes despite team boss Brawn suggesting that a deal could be done which would allow the driver more freedom to negotiate personal deals - thus reducing the amount the team would need to pay out itself.

Speaking to the Guardian, Goddard insisted that Button was merely exploring his options for next season but argued that the demands put to Brawn hadn't been unreasonable.

"As I've said many times before, Jenson wants to drive a car which is capable of winning the next world championship," he said. "We've been talking about possible terms for 2010 with Brawn for months and we're not being difficult or unreasonably expensive in our demands for Jenson. In fact we've given up quite a lot of negotiating ground in our discussions with them.

"I think it's also important that Jenson wants to feel valued in whatever situation he finds himself next season. He needs to explore all the feasible options."

Button remains one possible option for McLaren for next season while he is still on the driver market, with Raikkonen the other main contender to make a return to Woking following his departure from Ferrari at the end of the season.

Heikki Kovalainen could also return to the team for another season but is seen as the rank outsider behind the title winning duo.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment