Jenson Button's management made contact with Red Bull Racing last summer regarding the possibility of the British star replacing Mark Webber at Milton Keynes in F1 2010 – but the energy drinks-backed outfit's team principal Christian Horner has admitted there was never any room at the inn.
For much of last year, it appeared to be a no-brainer that Button – en route
to his maiden F1 World Championship – would stay put at Brawn GP (now Mercedes Grand Prix) to defend his hard-fought crown in 2010, following the Brackley-based outfit's tremendous phoenix-from-the-flames like story to rise again and triumph from the ashes of Honda.
However, after time ticked by and no renewed deal was struck – despite repeated insistencies from both parties that the will to prolong the relationship was there – it began to become apparent that behind-the-scenes, all was not quite sweetness-and-light.
Whilst the Button camp hinted to the media that the 30-year-old felt neither valued nor wanted by his employer – and was consequently driven to look elsewhere despite his personal desire to stay – the team was getting increasingly vexed by being painted as the bad guy in the situation. And now it appears there was rather more to the fall-out than merely money.
Initially hiding behind the convenient smokescreen of a financial dispute – blown apart when Ross Brawn revealed that he had tabled an offer higher than that which Button ultimately accepted to jump ship to McLaren-Mercedes – the Frome-born ace eventually confessed that he had made the switch to give himself a new 'challenge' up against compatriot and title-winning predecessor Lewis Hamilton at Woking. But it now transpires the multiple world champions were perhaps not his first port of call...
“We did receive an inquiry from Jenson's management last summer,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told The Daily Telegraph
, “but we were – and still are – very happy with our two drivers.”