F1 champ Jenson Button embroiled in authorized row over £166k Ford Bronco
Formula One Champion Jenson Button is on the centre of a authorized row the place he has been accused of ‘fraudulently’ promoting a prized 1970 Ford Bronco for $166,000 at public sale, by ‘falsely’ claiming it belonged to him.
Mr Button, 44, who took the 2009 title and is now an F1 pundit for Sky Sports, put the automated darkish blue truck up on the market on a web site referred to as Collecting Cars in January 2022.
The advert, which continues to be on-line, clearly states Button because the proprietor – and provides: ‘It has been in Jenson’s possession for the final 4 years.’
It goes on: ‘This is an eye-catching custom truck that would make a superb weekend cruiser or beach car’, including that there are ‘simply 170 miles on the clock.’
It was purchased by British firm director Leo Eccles, 45, however he has now launched authorized motion towards the GP ace, claiming he was ‘not the legitimate owner’ and as an alternative it belonged to his ‘girlfriend’ Brittny Ward, who turned his spouse after the sale.
Jenson Button posted this image to Instagram of him behind the wheel of the Ford Bronco with the caption: ‘Cruising in Brittny Ward’s Bronco, mainly preserve the battery charged for her!’
Leo Eccles (pictured) has now launched authorized motion towards Button claiming he was ‘not the legitimate owner’ of the Bronco
Jenson Button and his mannequin spouse Brittny Ward pose for an image collectively on vacation
Mr Button put the automated darkish blue customized truck up on the market on a web site referred to as Collecting Cars in January 2022
Mr Eccles says he paid a premium on the automotive as a result of he believed it was owned by Button – however he claims the automotive is value a fraction of that worth, round $32,000, as a result of his girlfriend was the true proprietor.
As a results of the continuing authorized row, Mr Eccles – who’s the director of a Gloucestershire-based gaming agency referred to as Ginger Fox – and in addition has an deal with in Bromley, Kent, has nonetheless not picked up the automotive from the US, two years after the sale.
According to court docket paperwork filed in Los Angeles, and seen by MailOnline, Mr Eccles is claiming that though on the time of the sale the car was marketed as owned by Button, it was in actuality his girlfriend Brittny’s automotive.
It is claimed that the car was registered in Brittny Ward’s identify, not Button’s.
Brittny posted images of the Bronco on her Instagram indicating it was hers – tagging them ‘my lady’, in keeping with the court docket paperwork, however the put up seems to have since been taken down.
In 2019 Button himself posted an image sat contained in the automotive with the caption ‘Cruising in Brittny Ward’s Bronco, mainly preserve the battery charged for her!’.
Then in November 2020 the previous F1 ace featured on a podcast for Collecting Cars, the corporate that organized the public sale of the Bronco two years later.
Their web site reveals it has additionally sorted out the gross sales of not less than three different automobiles for Button, together with a Porsche, a VW van and a Land Rover.
During the podcast interview, which continues to be on-line, Button lists the vehicles he owns, from a Baja truck to ‘a few Jaguars’, and provides: ‘I’ve received a Bronco, which is definitely actually not mine, it is my missus’ automotive, however I’ll say it is mine’.
The court docket paperwork state: ’Button’s profitable profession and profitable sponsorship offers turned him to a really rich man and his fortune is estimated to be between $150- $170million.
‘Yet, despite his riches, Button had no qualms in listing a vehicle for sale, and advertising it as owned by him.
‘His reputation resulted in the car being sold for $166,000,’ including ‘even though the same car was sold for users earlier for a mere $32,000.’
After Button shared an image behind the wheel of the Bronco, his spouse Brittny replied: ‘Naughty boy! It’s [sic] would not have plates’
Button has been married to his spouse Brittny since 2020 and the couple have two kids
Mr Eccles (pictured) requested Mr Button to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale as soon as he found the true possession saying that he ‘obtained the amount by fraud’
The paperwork provides: ’Even although the sale quantity far exceeded the intrinsic worth of the car it was unconnected to Button.
‘As it turns out, Button did not own the car, and never did. The car was owned and driven by his wife Ward, who posted a picture of the car on her Instagram account with the caption ‘my girl’.
Mr Eccles requested Mr Button, who additionally works as a senior advisor for Williams Racing, to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale as soon as he found the true possession saying that he ‘obtained the amount by fraud’.
In his declare the married father-of-two – who’s a eager yachtsman – added that Mr Button had failed to say the automotive wanted ‘substantial repairs’ when it was listed.
It shouldn’t be clear what the ‘substantial repairs’ are because the itemizing for the car states it’s in ‘honest situation’ with quite a lot of ‘paint chips’ – though it does spotlight the gasoline injection adjuster show shouldn’t be working however in all probability because of ‘not being appropriately related’. It then goes on to say there are ‘no different recognized electrical foibles’.
The public sale web site Collecting Cars reveals it has bought not less than 4 vehicles listed as owned by Jenson Button, and two that had beforehand belonged to him.
The court docket doc says that Mr Eccles wouldn’t have bought the automotive if he had recognized Mr Button’s girlfriend was the authorized proprietor.
He provides that when he approached Button to cancel the sale Button ‘offered a picture of himself in the car’ and to ‘re-register it in his name’.
The doc which was filed at Los Angeles County Court formally accuses Button and his spouse of fraud, intentional misrepresentation and breach of contract and enterprise code.
Mr Button (pictured, throughout his racing profession in 2009) claims Mr Eccles is backing out of the deal as a result of he’s ‘unable to register the car’ in his personal nation
Mr Eccles claims the automotive (pictured) is value round $32,000, a fraction of that worth as a result of Mr Button’s spouse was the true proprietor
Lawyers for Mr Button say that Mr Eccles was ‘looking for way out of the deal’ as he had ‘buyer’s regret’ over the automotive (pictured)
But Button has hit again along with his personal declare for ‘declaratory relief’ which underneath California state legislation is a authorized process designed for these looking for “preventive justice.”
Specifically, its goal is to “set controversies at rest before they lead to repudiation of obligations, invasions of rights or commissions of wrongs.”
His declare states Mr Eccles requested him to ‘hold onto the vehicle and put it in storage until he could arrange for transportation and registration in his home country’.
It additionally provides how Mr Eccles requested Button to make ‘improvements to the vehicle’ which he did and which concerned becoming rear seatbelts which he paid for.
Mr Button claims Mr Eccles is backing out of the deal as a result of he’s ‘unable to register the car’ in his personal nation.
The counter declare provides that Mr Button and his spouse are ‘ready, willing, and able to deliver the vehicle to Eccles but he refuses.’
Lawyers for Mr Button say that Mr Eccles was ‘looking for way out of the deal’ as he had ‘buyer’s regret’.
Button married US former mannequin Brittny, 33, in 2022 – after the sale of the Bronco in January of that yr – and so they now reside in Los Angeles with their two kids.
He had a 17 yr profession in Formula 1 and received the 2009 title whereas driving for Brawn.
MailOnline has tried to contact each events and no date has been set for the listening to in Los Angeles regardless of the paperwork being filed late final yr.
Brown, Neri, Smith and Khan who signify Mr Eccles and Foley, Bezek, Behle and Curtis who act for Mr Button, and who’re each LA-based authorized corporations, have additionally been approached. Neither celebration has made a remark.