When the Briton agreed to substantially slash his retainer in the wake of the internal Brawn buy-out of the Honda team, a clause was added to his contract stating:
“In the event that the driver wins the championship at any time during the term, the company shall transfer … ownership of one chassis of the type driven by the driver during that winning season,” it says.
Knowledge of this contract clause has only recently become public when Button’s management group lodged a suit in London’s High Court in April against the Brackley-based squad, which still hadn’t coughed up the BGP001 car.
It is reported by the Mail on Sunday newspaper that the team – since taken over by Mercedes and renamed Mercedes GP – refused to hand over the promised car to Button.
It is known that six BGP001 chassis’ were constructed during the 2009 season, but Button received advice from the team in January – following a rather public split with the team when he jumped ship to McLaren – that read: “We have no spare 2009 chassis as limited quantities were manufactured for the 2009 season for cost reasons.”
Mercedes GP had offered to construct a replica of the BGP001
– without the technical wizardry that helped it to the title, one assumes! – but Button insisted on the real deal, arguing that it would not be “special [or] unique” to own such a replica under this apparent compromise suggestion.
With the lawsuit lodged, the team finally coughed up and supplied a bespoke BGP001 chassis to the Briton.
A spokesperson for Button confirmed the transfer, stating: “We have arrived at an amicable resolution, and so there will no longer be any court action over this.”