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GP Week : Issue 229
exTrA MuscLe In an effort to reduce instances of crowd participation, as was seen in Singapore, officials are looking at adding additional security and marshals for next year's event. NeW KIDs ON THe BLOcK Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean are expected to be confirmed by Haas F1 Team when it makes its driver announcement this week. sTAYING PuT Fernando Alonso has pledged his future to McLaren, scoffing suggestions from former manager Flavio Briatore that he could leave the team, and F1, in prusuit of a winning car in 2016. THe POWer Of THree Should Red Bull and Toro Rosso pull out of the sport teams could be forced to run a third car, which could net them as much as $25million more from the sport's coffers as a result. suNNY MeLBOurNe Despite ongoing confusion surrounding the exact makeup of next year's calendar, the Australian Grand Prix can at least rest easy knowing it is secure until at least 2023. There had been suggestions the race could move to Sydney, but a new deal will keep the race in Albert Park for the foreseeable future. 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news BrieFly Jenson Button has remained tight- lipped on his future despite growing speculation in the lead up to the Japanese Grand Prix that he was set to announce his retirement. A number of British newspapers claimed in the days following the Singapore Grand Prix that the 2009 world champion would call time on his Formula One career in Japan, a claim that was ultimately proved baseless. Rumours of his impending retirement followed a number of downbeat comments made in Singapore, where Button claimed there was no joy in racing at the back of the pack. Those rumours were given extra fuel by McLaren's acting CEO Jonathan Neale during Friday's press conference. "We are contracted with him, we want him to stay and we like him very much, but if your driver doesn't really want to be in the seat, we have to respect that," Neale said. "I really hope that we have done enough between us to continue those discussions with him and have the confidence to keep him with us and that is what we would like." Discussions between Button and the team are continuing, with reports suggesting the current sticking point is finances. With the team's performances in 2015 below par, and suggestions it will lose some of its current sponsors, the team is likely to face a reduced budget next year in comparison to this. Button's contract says the Brit will drive for the team in 2016 unless an option to release him is activated by September 30. The contract is believed to also stipulate a pay rise from $10m to $15m. Speaking with the BBC, Niki Lauda stoked the fire by encouraging Button to play hardball with Dennis over the renewal. "I said to Jenson yesterday, fight your fight with Ron Dennis over money, because it is always the same. But then stay, because if you go, one of the last quick guys has gone,” the Austrian said. "What is the best combination to make the car go fast and develop the engine? It is those two guys. Put a young guy in the car and the engine does not go faster,” he added. “In the end, Jenson and Ron are clever enough to get it together. Jenson said to me yesterday he wants to drive there and he doesn’t want to retire." McLaren boss Ron Dennis was less than pleased with Lauda's comments, taking the opportunity to clarify the situation after the Japanese Grand Prix. "Jenson has a two-year contract, Fernando has a three-year contract," Dennis confirmed to Sky Sports F1. They vent their frustration, and we're all disappointed and that leads to demotivation, but at the end of the day they have agreements in place," he added "In any relationship, if you feel that the other party is not particularly comfortable and you are doubting that other party's commitment, that is not a good way for ward. "If that doubt is removed things change. Do you want me? Do you care? Do you believe in me? That is the kind of sentiment I believe was in Jenson's thinking. "We did have an option to terminate Jenson's contract, but he did have a two-year contract. "I told him earlier in the week that wasn't going to happen, and I think he was pleased, maybe I should have told him a bit sooner. "I don't take all the decisions in McLaren, some I do, some I don't. I wanted to check with the shareholders what their feelings were. The contract is intact and unchanged. "I've spoken to Jenson about it and he's happy. Money doesn't come into it."" keeping it buttoned