McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010

2010 F1 season

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.

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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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


  2. HounslowBusGarage said on 18th November 2009, 13:29

    Ross is right. I can’t see how this is going to go well. Nevertheless, I hope it will.

  3. Atleast we’ll see if he’s the real deal. However Ferrari are going to make McLaren look like a joke next year.

  4. Get in, really happy for Button, i think he has done well this year and hopefully next he will at least keep up with Hammy.

    Quick question, what number will Brawn/Mercedes carry on their car now he has gone?

    • Bullfrog said on 18th November 2009, 13:57

      Who cares, you can hardly see the numbers any more. :)

      Probably 3 & 4, Red Bull kept Jaguar’s numbers when they bought the team. Plus they get the first pit garage which makes stops a bit easier.

      If they’re regarded as “a new team” like Brawn were, pick a number between 16 and 27…no idea what order they’ll be in.

      • Tiomkin said on 18th November 2009, 16:35

        Who cares, you can hardly see the numbers any more. :)

        True, but the numbers dictate the garage order on the pit lane, so it is relevant.

        • Isn’t the thing that dictates garage order in the pits the finishing order of the previous seasons Constructors Championship?

          This year McLaren had numbers 1 & 2 because Hamilton was 2008 Drivers Champion but as Ferrari were Constructors Champion in 2008 they had the first garage.

          So unless Mercedes get classed as a new team they should get numbers 3 & 4 but get the first garage in 2010.

    • sato113 said on 18th November 2009, 16:05

      it will be Rosberg’s number 7 on the car.

    • Its Hammer time said on 18th November 2009, 17:36

      Mclaren Mercedes
      1. Jenson Button
      2. Lewis Hamilton

      Mercedes GP
      3. Nico Rosberg
      4. Nick Heidfeld

      Redbull Racing Renault
      5. Seb Vettel
      6. Mark Webber

      Scuderia Ferrari
      7. Felipe Massa
      8. Fernando Alonso

      Williams Cosworth
      9. Rubens Barrichello
      10. Nico Hulkenburg

      11. Robert Kubica
      12. ?

      Force India Mercedes
      14. ?
      15. ?

      Scuderia Torro Rosso
      16. Seb Buemi
      17. ?

      USF1 Cosworth
      18. ?
      19. ?

      Manor Motorsport Cosworth
      20. Timo Glock
      21. ?

      Campos Meta Cosworth
      22. Bruno Senna
      23. ?

      Lotus Cosworth
      24. Jarno Trulli
      25. ?

      Qadbak Sauber Ferrari
      26. ?
      27. ?

      Would be my guess

  5. wow
    I half expected it but now it’s confirmed it’s going to make F1 very interesting. Next season is looking good for fans!

  6. I don’t how I’m going to be able to cope with the excitement about next season for the next 115 days. Button and Hamilton at McLaren, Massa and Alonso at Ferrari, the return of the silver arrows. It just gets better and better.

    I’m not sure everyone should write Button off so quickly in the contest vs Lewis, the new rule changes will suit Button’s style more than Lewis who tends to wreck his tyres. Unfortunately the team will obviously continue to favour Lewis, so we’ll probably not get to see a fair fight.

  7. Rahzam said on 18th November 2009, 13:42

    McLaren choose a weaker team mate for Hamilton. Kimi may have given him tough time.
    McLaren will prefer Hamilton in anyway and this time, Button will cry like Barichello cried in Brawn team.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:03

      Button will cry like Barichello cried in Brawn team.

      That’s a bit harsh on Barry. He made one unacceptable comment but otherwise he was a great team mate, delivered two wins and contributed a lot to the constructors’ championship.

      I don’t think there will be an “atmosphere” at McLaren next year. I imagine Button will knuckle down and does what is needed.

  8. I can easily see the “You know, I have #2 on my car, I’m the #2 driver” again :-)
    Will be fun to watch :-) Can’t say I’m a fan of any of the LH & JB, I just admire McL as a team.

    As for car set-up: it is easy to make an oversteering car to understeer: just lower the front wing angle – less front grip and by the way less drag which gives some extra top speed ;-) Also mind the narrower front tyres ;-)

    • As for car set-up: it is easy to make an oversteering car to understeer: just lower the front wing angle – less front grip and by the way less drag which gives some extra top speed Also mind the narrower front tyres

      Just putting narrower front tyres on will have much the same effect as decreasing the wing angle.

      This seasons cars were inherently ‘oversteery’, and next season they should be more neutral or even ‘understeery’. And when you have 160kgs of fuel effectively stabilising the rear end, it’s going to have a tendency to want to go straight on!

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:13

      As for car set-up: it is easy to make an oversteering car to understeer: just lower the front wing angle

      Praise be!! The holy grail of racecar setup has been hiding in the mind of an unassuming F1F commenter all this time! Hey, why didn’t you speak up back in June, then Jenson could have won the last ten races and avoided all that “Is he worthy?” bother!

      Please. Do a bit of research next time. The balance and dynamic weight shift of an F1 car as it rounds a corner under braking, turning and acceleration forces, not to mention centre of downforce changes, angle of attack and atmospheric conditions has a lot more to it than some numpty shouting “lower the front wing angle”.

      • Not sure you need to be such a douch about it.

      • A quote from Wikipedia:
        “In modern race cars, especially open-wheel race cars, oversteering in high speed turns is caused mainly by aerodynamic configuration. A heavier aerodynamic load on the front of the car relative to the rear causes it to oversteer.”

        • Nitpicker said on 19th November 2009, 10:15

          A quote from me: F1 cars have to steer around low speed corners as well.

          And as for the accuracy of Wikipedia…

        • alot of people say the new rules suit jenson more for next year.

          well if you look at this years rule changes they seem to suit lewis. larger front wing, smaller real wing and smaller diffusers, it pretty much screams an oversteer car because less rear end grip! but that was not the case when the season began,

          the new rules wont eithers driving style, as for jenson nursing his tyres, well first he has to heat them, which caused him big problems mid season, or have people forgot that already

  9. chris henshaw said on 18th November 2009, 13:45

    Mercedes GP – 3 and 4
    Red Bull – 5 and 6 etc etc

    • John H said on 18th November 2009, 14:11

      Won’t Merecedes have the 22 & 23 or similar seen as they are a new team effectively (a bit like when Brawn bought out Honda)?

      • They aren’t a new team – isn’t the reduction in Mercedes ownership segmented over two years and also McLaren already own part of the team anyway. Its not a new owner… one of the existing owners will now own the whole team.

        • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:17

          Brawn was considered a “new team”, albeit without having to stump up the new team deposit to FOM. So why isn’t Mercedes Grand Prix considered a new team?

          When Brawn took over Honda it was a management buyout. Ross and his buddies bought the team lock stock and barrel. This time, we have Mercedes buying a 75% share of the Brawn team — perhaps this makes it a different case.

    • sato113 said on 18th November 2009, 16:10

      i think red bull will have 3 and 4.
      mercedes will have Rosberg’s number on it. so they’ll be 7 and 8 (i think).
      mclaren 1 and 2.
      williams will be 5 and 6 because BAR was 3rd in the champ, but can’t have the no.3 as that’s for the driver who came 2nd and is in a different team to the champ.
      confusing i know…

      • vettelfan said on 18th November 2009, 17:04

        I thought car numbers were based on the Constructor’s postions. The #1 and #2 will go to Button and Hamilton (as Button was World Champion he gets Number 1). Then Mercedes GP should get #3 and #4 (although I am not sure as they will be entering under a new name does that not change anything?). Red Bull will have either #3 and #4, or #5 and #6. Ferrari will have #7 and #8 – as they were 4th in the Constructors. Williams will get #9 and #10 (as Toyota and BMW were above them but both have since pulled out). Renault should get #11 and #12, unless they pull out. Force India will have #14 and #15. And Toro Rosso will be #16 and #17. I am unsure on how the new teams’ numbers will be decided.

      • This is a copy of a post a made on the subject of next seasons car numbers on the Raikkonen sabbatical article

        There was a little debate about the numbers Mercedes would have if Button joined McLaren in this article

        Sorry I don’t know how to link to a particular section of a webpage, but I would say it is about a quarter of the way down in the same thread as the debate on Heidfeld.

        Usually Brawn/Mercedes would have numbers 3 & 4, as after the team with the World Champion the numbers are awarded based on the Constructors Championship, which is what I personally think wil happen, but I don’t know the details of the relevant rules.

        Some think that because of the Mercedes takeover it will be classed as a new team and will be at the end of the pitlane with the other new teams with car numbers in the 20s. But it may depend on how the takeover is classed as some F1 team takeovers this decade have meant that the new team inherit what would have been the old teams numbers but Brawn this year were classed as a completely new team so had numbers 22 & 23.

      • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:19

        mercedes will have Rosberg’s number on it. so they’ll be 7 and 8 (i think).

        Rosberg doesn’t own the number 7. This isn’t football.

  10. Bullfrog said on 18th November 2009, 13:45

    I think Lewis will score more points, but Jenson will score points more often.

    Never thought this would happen for all sorts of logical and PR reasons, so good on you JB for seizing the opportunity.

  11. I think Jenson will be quite relaxed about his team mate’s reputation. He has achieved his long term goal and can now enjoy the moment of being World Champ in a McLaren F1 car. I expect lots on 1-2s from McLaren next season. But who will be 1 and who will be 2? Jenson is almost certain to finish a race if the car does not break; meanwhile Lewis has the outright pace and will always go for the win even if he crashes in the attempt. That’s what I liked about Mansell, an out & out racer “Yes Frank, I’ll take it easy, promise” then the red mist descends!!!. McLaren are quite right they always try and get the two best drivers available and no one can argue with that this year. They are, after all the 2008 and 2009 World Champions. I cannot wait…..

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:23

      I expect lots on 1-2s from McLaren next season.

      Formula One’s other dream team might have something to say about that.

      A lot of us expect Ferrari to be back on form next year. We’ve excused McLaren and Ferrari due to the champ battle last season and the big rule changes, and they’ve both made headway with in-season development. But if Fezza aren’t back on it in 2010, perhaps they have lost their way a bit.

  12. Adrian said on 18th November 2009, 13:52

    Aren’ the best F1 cars designed to have neutral handling characteristics so that they can then adapted to suit not only the driver, but the specific circuit too.

    If that’s the case and McLaren follow that design philosophy then Jenson shouldn’t have an issue with car setup.

    I wonder how quickly he can get in their simulator and start work?

  13. David Sherwood said on 18th November 2009, 13:56

    I wonder what went on at BrawnGP / Mercedes to make Jenson walk.

    I like Jenson, but I think Lewis will have the edge on him, not just in terms of ability, but car / team / support etc. and I think he would have been better staying put. So I am sure he would have thought the same.

    I think Jenson has had the move forced on him, so I wish him well at McLaren and hope that it turns out that it is Mercedes that regrets letting him go, not the other way around.

    • This is what I think went on.

      Jan->Start of season
      Jenson: I’ll take a pay cut, but I’m taking one for the team. Bare this in mind.
      Ross: ok

      Mid season->Now
      Jenson: I’m WRC leader/world champ I need a pay increase, I only accepted the large pay cut to save the team.
      Ross: Sorry we can’t give you a pay rise, stay with us anyway on the cut salary.
      Jenson: That’s a kick in the ********, it’s kind of an insult too after the pay cut I took earler in the year.
      Ross: Do one!
      Jenson: You’re mean
      Ross: It’s just business Jenson
      Jenson: McLaren want a chat with me
      Ross: Fine, Hamilton will nail you, you daren’t go.

      Later on…..Jenson thinks to himself…
      Ross doesn’t think I’m worth it. People are doubting my talent a little anyway. There is no better way to prove I am a great driver than matching Lewis in the same machinery, their car should be good and Brawn could totally change now Mercedes own it. I’m off.

      ##The End##

      My thoughts are, does any British driver turn down a McLaren drive? They are to Brits what Ferrari is to Italians.

      His talent is already questioned by a number of people compared to previous world champions. He has less to loose than we think going up against Lewis.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:30

      Odd result isn’t it. Jenson has been very loyal through those two dismal seasons, and after wrapping up both championships you’d think there was no reason to look elsewhere.

      In late 2007 Jenson (and everyone else at Brackley) was keen to see what improvements Ross Brawn could make and turn around Honda’s fortunes. Jenson has now taken advantage of that, but why move on now?

  14. Chalky said on 18th November 2009, 13:57

    This is good for McLaren.

    Not sure who will be quicker. Instinct tells me it’ll be Lewis who is quicker and will score better.
    Jenson certainly sets himself some high challenges.
    Maybe the 2010 rules will work in his favour though?
    I can’t wait…. Oh the pain of waiting so long….

  15. I suspect Jenson Button will regret signing for McLaren.

    Lewis Hamilton went toe to toe with Fernando Alonso at McLaren and came out ahead. Granted, by that point Hamilton had been with McLaren for a long time but ’07 was his first year driving for the F1 team as opposed to merely being supported by it. If anything, over the last two years, McLaren has become more and more Lewis’ team than it was in 2007. I’m not suggesting Hamilton gets preferential treatment but any team will naturally mould itself around such a driver who has enjoyed such superiority over his team mate.

    The scale of the challenge before Button is even greater than that Alonso faced – 2010 could be make or break.

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