Jenson Button has revealed that former Brawn GP and Mercedes F1 chief executive officer, Nick Fry, “shouted” when he was told of Button’s decision to join McLaren for the 2010 Formula 1 season.
Button, then reigning champion with Brawn GP which was then sold to Mercedes the following year, signed with McLaren to partner Lewis Hamilton in what Ross Brawn told the Briton was a “big mistake”, but it was Fry’s reaction that shocked Button.
“We came into McLaren after winning the world championship in 2009,” Button told the The High Performance Podcast. “People said it was the craziest move to go to McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton, and even Ross Brawn said that.
“I told the team I was leaving at the end of 2009. I spoke to Nick Fry who basically just shouted at me – he was one of the bosses with Ross Brawn at the time.
“I remember I was going into his office and telling him I was leaving and he just shouted at me and I basically just started laughing because it was a really uncomfortable situation.
“I kind of felt for him, for how aggressive he was. He just looked at me and was like ‘why are you laughing at me’? It was the situation and it was just what I didn’t expect.”
Button revealed that Brawn’s reaction was somewhat calmer, but was surprised by the negative reaction to his decision.
“I told Ross and he was very friendly and said ‘I think you’re making a big mistake going up alongside Lewis’.
“I was like ‘this is awesome’, a lot of positive energy I am getting here but it happens. I didn’t have a contract for the next year, it didn’t feel like the place for me and McLaren was.”
Button would go on to spend seven seasons with McLaren, four of which were spent as Hamilton’s team-mate before he would go on to join Button’s former team where he has enjoyed huge success.
Button won eight races with McLaren, finishing a best second in the championship in 2011, runner-up to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.