Mike Stevens | Jun 2, 2009

CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER Jenson Button is set to be the subject of a bidding war as teams seek to confirm driver line-ups for the 2010 season.

While Button was previously considered an underachiever, his success at the wheel of Brawn’s BGP001 has re-alerted F1 outfits to the prodigious talents he displayed in the early part of his career.

Until recently, it is believed many within the Formula 1 paddock had simply dismissed Button’s form as a result of the Brawn machine’s superiority.

But a succession of stunning performances, capped off by his lights to flag victory at Monaco is believed to have turned more than a few heads in F1 boardrooms.

In the principality, Button struggled to find a set-up conducive to Monaco’s tight nature during Thursday and Saturday practice, and seemed to be lagging behind the pace set by Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello.

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But his last gasp surge for pole during Q3 and subsequent race day display has forced up his stocks considerably, making the Briton and World Champion-elect the most sought after driver in Formula 1.

An unnamed team boss told the Daily Mirror: “There are going to be quite a few seats open next year and Jenson is going to be at the top of many people's lists.

"How could he not be after his performances in the last few races ? Any question marks that were remaining disappeared after his pace in Monaco.

"And it wasn't just that he won it, it was that he started the weekend with a car he was far from happy with and developed it into a winning car.

"We are certainly interested in his services and have made that known, but we'd be daft to assume we're the only ones.

“A lot of people like the humble way he has carried himself at a time when he could have crowed and told his critics 'I told you so’.”

With his F1 future looking dim in December last year, Button jumped at the opportunity to race for Brawn following Ross Brawn’s purchase of Honda F1, accepting a rumoured $AU11.5 million pay cut to simply remain in the sport.

However, Button could now be looking at a salary in the vicinity of $AU40 million next season, placing the underfunded Brawn GP team in a fight to secure his signature.

heikki-kovalainenMeanwhile, McLaren appears set to replace Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen for the 2010 season, with reports linking the outfit to German duo Timo Glock and Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes motorsport boss Nobert Haug has previously hinted the manufacturer would be keen to place a German driver behind the wheel of a three-pointed star, and with Kovalainen’s contract expiring at the end of the season, McLaren appears set to honour his wishes.

Rosberg has indicated his future lies elsewhere after Williams’ Patrick Head expressed his dissatisfaction with his inconsistent performances this season, while Glock may be without a drive if Toyota pull out of Formula 1.

It is believed though that McLaren have a preference for Glock, whose solid performances for Toyota see him currently lying sixth in the driver’s championship.

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