2009 world champion Jenson Button’s Formula 1 career could end because of a pay-rise that is scheduled to kick in for 2016 season.
Two British newspapers, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, are reporting that the 35-year-old’s current retainer of $12.5 million would rise to almost $19 million if McLaren takes up the ‘option’ on his existing deal.
“McLaren’s driver bill would then be $58 million which could prove too much,” wrote the Daily Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy from Spa-Francorchamps.
The wage bill has reportedly become an issue given McLaren-Honda’s dire 2015 season, in which official income will drop due to the prospect of finishing a lowly ninth in the constructors’ championship.
“They have also failed to bring in a title sponsor since Vodafone pulled out at the end of 2013,” McEvoy added.
The situation could, however, be good news to McLaren’s juniors Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne, of whom the latter won the GP2 support race at Spa.
The Belgian is expected to step up to a reserve role for 2016, while McEvoy explained: “Magnussen, who performed respectably in his one season, would cost no more than $1.5 million.”
And the Telegraph’s Daniel Johnson added: “The 22-year-old would also bring sponsorship money from Denmark.” (GMM)