McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010

2010 F1 season

Jenson Button has left Ross Brawn's team to join McLaren

Jenson Button has left Ross Brawn's team to join McLaren

Jenson Button has been confirmed as a McLaren driver for 2010.

He will team up with Lewis Hamilton in a move that will see McLaren retain the number one on their car.

Which driver will score more points for McLaren in 2010?

  • Jenson Button (14%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (82%)
  • Tie (4%)

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Ross Brawn earlier told The Independent he was “amazed” about Button’s talks with McLaren, adding:

His best future is with our team, where he has a good group around him, and there’s a lot to be said for that. The logical thing would be for him to stay with us, but of course logic doesn’t always prevail.
Ross Brawn

The surprising move, first reported by Alan Henry in The Guardian, will not only mean Britain’s two best F1 drivers today facing each other in the same team.

It will also be the first time two previous world champions have paired up since the infamous Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost partnership of 1988-1989, also at McLaren.

Button’s win-less second half of 2009 – after a dominant start to the season – led some to question whether he ‘deserved’ his championship. By taking on Hamilton he has an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong.

With Button joining McLaren, Heikki Kovalainen is left to find a new team. There is a vacancy at former team Renault, assuming they remain in F1 next year.

The news also means Brawn – now Mercedes Grand Prix – will not retain either of its drivers for 2010. Rumours place Nico Rosberg at the team for 2010, potentially partnering Nick Heidfeld.

That would leave the reigning champion team without a race winner in its 2010 line-up. It has prompted speculation that Michael Schumacher, who was backed by Mercedes before he entered f1, could end his association with Ferrari to join their new F1 team in 2010. But so far there is nothing to back up that rumour, which would outdo even the Button move for sensation if true.

Has Button bitten off more than he can chew by taking on Hamilton at McLaren? How will Hamilton react to having a team mate with the number one on his car? Have your say in the comments.

Jenson Button joins McLaren

Press release

Sensational double World Champion driver line-up created as Jenson Button joins Lewis Hamilton at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Woking, 18 November 2009: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is delighted to announce the signing of the reigning World Champion Jenson Button to a multi-year deal. He will be partnered by 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who will be embarking on his fourth consecutive season as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver.

This unique partnership will mark:

– The first time in Formula 1 history that a team has started the new season with a line-up featuring the most recent two successive World Champions

– The first pairing of two British World Champions since Graham Hill [1962, 1968] partnered Jim Clark [1963, 1965] at Lotus in 1968

Jenson Button
2009 Formula 1 World Champion
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car #1
??It?s always a difficult decision to leave a team when you?ve been there for so long. But life is all about challenges ?ǣ and, most important of all, it?s about challenging yourself. So, although I won the World Championship with Brawn GP last year, and I?ll never forget that, I was always adamant that I wanted to continue to set myself fresh challenges.

??So that?s why I?ve decided to join Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. You can?t help but be affected by this team?s phenomenal history. McLaren is one of the greats of world sport, and its achievements and list of past champions read like a Who?s Who of Formula 1 ?ǣ Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and of course my new team-mate Lewis Hamilton. I?ve followed the McLaren team ever since I was a small boy, and it feels unbelievable to finally be a part of it.

??When I visited the McLaren Technology Centre earlier this month, it wasn?t simply the technical resources and the incredible standards of excellence that impressed me. No, I was equally struck by the ambition, the motivation and the winning spirit that flow through everybody there. And then there?s the team?s epic history: put it this way, the trophy cabinets seem to stretch for miles.

??From a personal point of view, it?s also a great pleasure to be joining a fellow British World Champion. Lewis has achieved an incredible level of success in a very short period of time, and he?s a wonderfully gifted driver who has earned the respect of every Formula 1 driver. I?m sure there?s plenty that we can learn from each other, and I?m really looking forward to using our combined knowledge to push the team forward.

??Also, I think it?s fantastic that we?ll be forming an all-British line-up. I know that we both fly the flag with pride, and I sincerely hope we can make the whole of the United Kingdom, as well as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes fans across the world, proud. Nothing means more to me than to be able to represent my country, and I?m looking forward to both of us painting Formula 1?s circuits red, white and blue for many years to come.

??While I?m fully aware that there?s a tremendous amount of hard work ahead, I?m absolutely certain that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be able to deliver where it matters: on track. I?m already looking forward to starting work with the engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre as we begin our preparations for the 2010 season ?ǣ and the defence of my world championship. This is a team that always goes racing to win, and I?m looking forward to being part of that.

??Last but very far from least, I want to say that the 2009 season will always have a special place in my memory, and I?m absolutely sure that everybody at Brawn GP who worked so hard to achieve our World Championship successes feels exactly the same way about it. Equally, I want to thank the guys at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, without whom we?d never have been as competitive as we were. I?m so pleased that I?ll still be using their engines in 2010 and beyond.

??So I wish all my old Brawn GP mates well in their new Mercedes Grand Prix adventure, just as I hope they?ll wish me well in my new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes adventure.??

Lewis Hamilton
2008 Formula 1 World Champion
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car #2
??It?s fantastic news that Jenson has decided to join Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ?ǣ and I?m looking forward to working with him and our engineers to make sure we kick off the 2010 season with a car that?s competitive enough to win the World Championship ?ǣ but I want to send my best wishes for the future to my 2008-09 team-mate and now good friend Heikki Kovalainen, who is one of the nicest human beings I?ve ever met.

??I already know Jenson, and we get on very well together. We both really want our team to succeed. Although we?ll be pushing each other hard, I?m sure we?ll very quickly establish a great working relationship. He?s an exceptional driver: very controlled and very smooth, and he has a real depth of knowledge and experience. I think we?ll complement each other very well, and our collaboration will make the team stronger as a result. Also, I?m delighted to be racing alongside a fellow British World Champion, and I believe we can pull together to make Vodafone McLaren Mercedes the best team on the grid.

??I?m sure Jenson has already started to appreciate our team?s unique culture and the special family atmosphere that makes it such an incredible place to live and work. We really are like one big family ?ǣ and I?m sure Jenson will feel the warmth of that welcome from day one.

??Obviously, as a British driver, I?m also thrilled that we?ll be flying the flag for the United Kingdom, and I think today?s announcement is fantastic news for all British sports fans. I hope they?ll be giving us their full support when the season kicks off next March. I?m already looking forward to Silverstone ?ǣ it?ll be massive!

??Looking ahead, I think the results from the second half of 2009 speak for themselves, and I?m convinced we can carry that momentum through the winter and into the new season. I?ve been closely following the development of our 2010 challenger, the MP4-25, and I think it?s going to be a state-of-the-art car that will enable both of us to consistently fight for victories.??

Martin Whitmarsh
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
??Everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Jenson to our team. It has always been our policy to employ the two very best possible drivers ?ǣ and, in Jenson and Lewis, we feel we not only have the fastest pairing on the 2010 grid, but also the two most complete, professional and dedicated drivers in Formula 1.

??Moreover, I?m confident that we?ll be able to successfully balance and harness Jenson?s and Lewis?s complementary skill-sets. Our engineers are already looking forward to working with Jenson, and I?m convinced that such a strong and dynamic driver line-up will make us an even more complete and competitive operation. Now we have to provide Jenson and Lewis with race-winning machinery.

??I want to make clear that Jenson?s decision to join us was in no way motivated by money. We?ll be paying him no more than he could be getting elsewhere, and that fact is a reflection of not only Jenson?s belief in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes but also his desire and ambition to build on the phenomenal results he achieved during the 2009 season.

??I also want to thank Heikki for his selfless contribution over the past two years. As well as being very quick, Heikki was and remains a great character whom we?ll all miss considerably. It goes without saying that we wish him all the best for next season, and would be very pleased if he were to secure a good drive for 2010.

??We?re ambitious, we?re motivated and we?re hungrier than ever. We make no secret of our ambition for next year: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes wants to win both World Championships ?ǣ and, with Jenson and Lewis, we believe we?re better equipped than any other team in the pitlane to do exactly that.??

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300 comments on McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010

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  1. ajokay said on 18th November 2009, 13:08

    Excellent. it’s gonna be great to see him and Hamilton in the same car. I always though Button should have been in a McLaren since the beginning of 2007 instead of Heikki, but now he has his chance, and as reigning World Champion.

    It’s gonna be good next year…

  2. djdaveyp said on 18th November 2009, 13:08

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    That is one awesome line-up. Eat your heart out ferrari.

    • hmmmmm, are you sure about that….

      Massa – 320 points, 116 races
      Alonso – 577 points, 140 races
      Ferrari drivers = 897 points in 256 races and average 3.5 points per race and 2 driver WDCs

      Button – 327 points, 172 races
      Hamilton – 256 points, 52 races
      McLaren drivers = 583 points in 224 races
      and average 2.6 points per race and 2 driver WDCs

      Clearly Hamilton has the highest average, not having raced for a backmarker, but I don’t think anyone needs to eat their hearts out…..

      I think the line ups at both teams are pretty amazing. I really hope that the Ferrari and the McLaren are back to top form and these 4 drivers can fight with the Red Bulls and Mercedes/Brawn teams!!!!!

      • I think the line ups at both teams are pretty amazing. I really hope that the Ferrari and the McLaren are back to top form and these 4 drivers can fight with the Red Bulls and Mercedes/Brawn teams!!!!!

        Couldn’t have said it better! 2010 looks to be a great year for f1!

        • Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 18th November 2009, 22:33

          If Merc, Ferrari, Red bull and Mclaren are all competitve we could have the best 8 drivers battling for the title assuming Rosberg is at Mercedes and hoping Kubica can join him. (except for Kimi of course)

  3. well ok then, we got him. I dont think this is gonna be a pretty season for McL.

    I am a McL fan to the bone but theres something about this am not liking. I would of rather have kept Hekki or Kimi.

    • Ned Flanders said on 18th November 2009, 13:58

      I don’t see why it should be such a big problem. Everyone is comparing it to the situation in 2007, but I don’t think it’ll be nearly that tense.

      Hamilton is better than he was in 07, and Button is not as good as Alonso, so they shouldn’t be rivals all season long. And besides, Alonso is a one off- no other driver would go in such a huff about perceived inequality.

      • I think the whole 2007 saga was all created by Alonso believing he should be favoured as the experienced driver… suddenly a “rookie” beating you must be annoying. If it has been few season in Alonso would have probably taken it easier.

        (maybe the problem was Hamilton wouldn’t crash his car to favour Alonso :P)

      • hey Ned want some humble pie????
        I said it was so…

        • Ned Flanders said on 18th November 2009, 15:40

          Actually AP I agreed with you. My point was you can’t believe all rumours you hear, otherwise Raikkonen will be going to Red Bull, Glock would still be going to Renault, Schumacher will be driving for Mercedes etc.

          (By the way it would be amazing if Schumi did sign for Mercedes!)

          • :)

            I understand what u mean, some rumors are just thinly veiled truths, others are wild speculation.

    • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 14:43

      Same here – awful news.

      • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:15

        Awful for who?

        1. McLaren get another champion driver.
        2. Button gets a 3-year deal with a historic team, with good chances of wins next year.
        3. British fans get an all-British outfit to cheer on, and we’ll see how these two really compare.

        I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be celebrating…

        • the one (ok, maybe a few) problem i can see arising is how Mclaren will set up the car, will it be more understeer or more oversteer? will it be a massa/ kimi situation in 08 where ferrari developed the car away from the reigning champs style? will it be a mclaren white wash like last time they had two world champions?

          Well im happy with the news, at least Button is better than Heikki

        • Awful for those outside of Britain who get the BBC feed and commentary.

          They go no far too much about the British drivers when they are midpack, let alone when they are near to or at the front. It part of the reason why I dont like Button

          • Damian said on 19th November 2009, 8:01

            Poor Button, being disliked because some motormouths talk about him too much.

            Surely they’re worse about Hamilton?

          • The same things happens on Spanish TV (to an even greater extent), Italian TV, Brazilian TV – basically, the home TV station who provides the commentary will almost ALWAYS be slightly biased towards “their guy”.

  4. I’m surprised at McLaren’s choice, but then again not surprised due to copious amount of speculation.

    Button will have a hard time getting the attention of the team but from other forums, I hear that he is supposed to be well suited for next year’s car. Hamilton will probably not let Jensens number one status phase him as he’ll probably get preferential treatment anyway.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 13:47

      The rule changes for 2010 suit Jenson to a tee: narrower front tyres and bigger fuel loads, meaning more understeer and critical tyre management.

      That’s not to say that Hamilton will struggle to match him… it’s going to be a fascinating season!

      • Leahonard_e said on 18th November 2009, 15:25

        I voted Jenson will score more points just because next year’s regulations favour drivers who can handle tyre wear best and have smooth driving style in different conditions (varying fuel loads over the race).
        Although it’s that black and white, I think it’s not that predictable to say LH will be that good over Jenson…
        Maybe LH will qualify better, but Jenson will be stronger in the races.

        • marcus said on 18th November 2009, 16:56

          Agree totaly with that LH vs JB

        • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:17

          And Jenson might pick up more consistent points. Not wildly dramatic but it won him the championship this year.

        • sumedh said on 19th November 2009, 11:47

          Very very unlikely.

          People were of the opinion that Alonso and Kimi would take time to adjust to Bridegestone tyres at the start of 2007. It was also expected that in 2008, Massa would struggle due to lack of Traction Control.

          Both assumptions were proved wrong. Just a simple change in regulations are not going to change the pecking order of the drivers. It will change the pecking order of cars, not drivers.

          Hamilton proved that he has overcome his tyre degradation problems at Hungary 2009.

          Button however, never proved that he has overcome his qualifying problems.

          Button will definitely be better than Heikki was in the car. But he will be no match to Hamilton.

          I somehow think that Button was unwanted by both teams, Mclaren and Mercedez. Mercedez, coz. they are foolish to want to just 2 German drivers, and Mclaren, coz. they wanted Kimi.

          Button just took the option which he had.
          Awful management by Button’s negotiation team

      • the tyre changes are not that different from last year, the width is about 15mm smaller, its not that big.

        the tyres are not going to be able to last the whole race, bridgestone have said that the harder tyres will last 25 laps of a 60 lap race, so 1 stops will be hard, and soft/ hard compound will still need to be used. thats not including increased wear for the first stint, so we are likely to see first stop lap 20/60, second stop 45/60, last stint of 15 on softs.

        quite similar to last year, except staying out longer with less feul will not happen next year

  5. pSynrg said on 18th November 2009, 13:18

    This is awesome news. I love everything about it. I think most people feel that Lewis will wipe the floor with Jenson, and I include myself in that. But after consideration and a review of 2009, Jenson has got it. Without the pressure of bagging his WDC I think he’ll give us all a surprise when up against his new team mate.
    Then again, Lewis is on such a mission to put the depth of experience gained during 2009 to the test and walk away with the 2010 crown.

    Roll on March!

  6. Maciek said on 18th November 2009, 13:19

    Wow. I was skeptical this would actually happen, but lo and behold. Either the best or worst move of Button’s career, and it’s all up to him now to prove his doubters wrong. Now we have two top teams with massive internal competition.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:20

      Either the best or worst move of Button’s career

      Either way, it’s going to be decisive: that’s what’s so fascinating about it. But if Jenson finds life tough at McLaren, he’s got 3 years to sort it out. I doubt he’d “do an Alonso” and be scared off by a quick team mate.

  7. Despite all the build up over the last few days I am still slightly surprised Button has signed for McLaren.

    While I still think that Hamilton should beat Button next year, as long as Button can get the car working for his driving style, as it will have been developed more around Hamilton, I think the issue of tyre management with no refuelling could make it closer than some seem to think it will be.

    I don’t think Hamilton will have a problem with a teammate having the number one on their car, he will only have a problem if Button is consistently quicker than him next year.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:26

      … it will have been developed more around Hamilton

      This is a logical-sounding idea, but I wonder how much a car is developed specifically for one driver. After all, McLaren will always have to make their car suit two drivers, not just Hamilton.

      And as cosy as Lewis is at McLaren, they cannot be absolutely focused on one driver: they are keen on getting that constructors’ championship trophy, and for that you need consistent points from both drivers.

      There’s been quite a bit said about the contrasting driving styles of Lewis and Jenson. But what about Heikki and Kimi, are they similar to Lewis or fairly neutral? If Kimi had got the drive next year, would he have been fast in a Lewis-developed car?

  8. Ned Flanders said on 18th November 2009, 13:19

    Two British champions in one team?!? Crazy! I bet ITV wish they were still the F1 broadcaster. I think they would just pretend there were no other teams and rename the programme ‘The McLaren Show’.

    We haven’t had England vs Germany in F1 since the mid 90’s, so it should be great. Obviously I predict a England win, but perhaps I’m biased…

  9. F1 Oldstager said on 18th November 2009, 13:19

    Poor guys at Brackley…..they never got their driver signing day. Marketing disaster for RB/NF. JB is an excellent driver and very marketable……good luck in your new team…..BrawnGP lasted a year……it’s now german!

    • Next Ross Brawn should leave.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:32

      You’re right, it is a bit sad for them. They had good team and driver consistency for 4 seasons, but a 2-year spell with poor cars. Now they are on a high with double championship wins and now Mercedes security — but they have lost two great drivers.

  10. I can’t help but think that Ross is right, but actually this is a great opportunity to put to rest any questions about what he deserves. Everyone knows, whether they like him or not, how good Lewis is, now Button gets a chance to prove himself in the same car.

  11. Robert said on 18th November 2009, 13:23

    I just hope that the MP4-25 will be neutral enough in order to be tailored to each driver’s style. If the car is already designed to be more prone to oversteer (the way that Lewis prefers), setting the car so that Jenson can have a more understeering car (the way he prefers) will be much more difficult.

    But, short of signing Kimi, I think that this is McLaren’s best chance of fighting Ferrari for the Constructor’s Championship.

  12. sumedh said on 18th November 2009, 13:24

    Good bye Jenson!!

    Atleast Kimi ended his career by a strong second half to the 2009. You, on the other hand are going to be smothered!!!

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:35

      Atleast Kimi ended his career by being bought out of his contract in favour of another driver.

      There, fixed that for you.

  13. I can’t wait to see Hamilton destroy Button next year. Will shut my friends up for sure :)

    • But if you are wrong… then they will tell you sir to be quite.

      Will be interesting… and hopefully not just for a couple or races.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:37

      Will shut my friends up for sure

      Were these the same friends that were cheering on Hamilton through 2007/2008 and didn’t know who this “Jenny Buttock” driver was?

  14. Ross was right.
    I would rather the seat went to Kimi if I’m honest.
    That said now I have got over the news it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I don’t know how strong this line up is compared to Ferrari but it also is hugely dependent on the car.
    This may work well but it won’t be a love in with the two garages and nor should it be. Lewis previously said his crown was just on loan to Jense for a year.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:41

      I think it will be amicable enough. Both Lewis and Jenson appear to be decent blokes and are not likely to throw a strop, like a certain Spanish fella.

      Of course they are both highly competitive as all racing drivers are — they won’t be giving each other any favours on track.

      • Carl27 said on 18th November 2009, 22:35

        Hopefully Hamilton will obbey team order for qualifying, unlike he did in Hungary 2007. I hope they get on well but can’t see it.It’s an strong partnership “for sured”.

  15. rampante said on 18th November 2009, 13:27

    Can’t help thinking he was still second choice to Kimi.
    It will be very interesting next year.Button must have jumped at the chance to drive for Mclaren they should be much more competitive than Brawn Mercedes.I still think Hamilton is the stronger driver and Button may struggle to take away the Lewis love in Mclaren seem to have.

    • Scribe said on 18th November 2009, 14:48

      Yeah, they only confirmed once Kimi said he wasn’t up for it.

      Poor man is in for a car crash, my enthusiasm upon first hearing is gone.

      Well, its definately the second best way to fight Ferrari an thats is not a good way to start a season.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 20:47

      Button may struggle to take away the Lewis love in Mclaren seem to have.

      I understand how it looks to viewers at home when they see Lewis achieving all the success at McLaren, but I don’t think there is ‘Lewis love’ or favouritism towards him. I just think he has defeated both Fernando and Heikki as team mates.

      I think McLaren will provide equal equipment and opportunities next year. But the deciding factor could be how Jenson handles things when his car isn’t perfect.

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