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  Saturday, 14 July, 2001, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Benetton put faith in Button
Jenson Button
Button is under increasing pressure
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

Jenson Button will keep his seat at Benetton-Renault next season despite concerns about his performances from team boss Flavio Briatore.

Button has until this month been thrashed by team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, sparking suggestions that Briatore could bring in Jarno Trulli, who is under option to Benetton for 2002.

But BBC Sport Online has learned that Briatore believes it would not be a good decision to drop the 21-year-old Englishman at the end of this season, halfway through a two-year contract.

That is because Benetton themselves have been poor this season, and he wants to give Button a second chance in 2002.

Button impressed greatly in his debut season with Williams in 2000, but he has found himself lost at Benetton.

He has struggled to get to grips with the car and claims he has been unable to get a set-up on it that he can drive successfully.


Jenson is young and has had success too soon and now he needs to sit down and consolidate
Flavio Briatore
Often he has been as good as a second slower than Fisichella in many races, which, as Button's former team-mate Ralf Schumacher says, cannot solely be explained by set-up.

However, Button was much closer to Fisichella at the French Grand Prix, and out qualified him at Silverstone for the first time this year since the opening race in Australia.

Button will line up 18th, 0.152 seconds and one place ahead of the Italian.

That result has encouraged him to believe he has turned the corner.

"It has been more difficult than I expected to get used to a difficult car," said Button at Silverstone.

"I wasn't as quick as I could have been at the beginning of the season, and I don't think the car and engine were either.

"But now I've got a better set-up on the car and I'm more comfortable with it.

"I think Flavio has been quite good and understanding considering."

Briatore has been perplexed by Button's form and suggests that Button needs to put more effort into his job.

He has also been upset by the size of the entourage Button has been bringing to races and has ordered him to cut it down.

Jenson Button
Button improved in France
Briatore said: "Jenson is young and has had success too soon and now he needs to sit down and consolidate. The only way to do that is with 100% commitment, like Michael Schumacher."

Button has to perform next year to protect more than his career with Benetton.

When he left Williams last year, he thought he would be going back in 2003.

They have a five-year contract on him and have leased him to Benetton for 2001 and 2002.

But Williams are known to be concerned about Button's poor form and have no intention of taking him back if he does not improve.

And even if he does get better, he still might not be wanted.

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who replaced Button, is a strong favourite to keep the seat, while Ralf Schumacher has already signed up until 2004.

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04 Jul 01 | Formula One
25 Jun 01 | Formula One
29 Jun 01 | Formula One
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