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

  1. spawinte said on 18th November 2009, 14:04

    Button will get absolutely killed by Hamilton. Your site keeps falling over every time there is breaking news.

  2. The 2 biggest losers of all this fiasco are BRAWN and KIMI.
    BRAwn, coz they now have NICO and NICk , both of them are unproven racers.
    Nick is there for ages and still hasnt been able to win a race.
    And Nico, despite the double diffuers at the start of the season, he could not even manage a podium (TOYOTA managed 4 podium finishes last year).

    And KIMI, wat to say abt this guy. Comeon man,u may be highly rated but u are as goodas ur last performance.
    He should have grabbed a race seat and also, WRC will not be a bed of roses……. Shame kimi… get lost and have lots of ice creams

  3. Good news as it finally ends the speculation and bad news as it leaves Kimi without a seat for 2010… I’ll miss him. Just for fun, what does Hamilton mean by — “Looking ahead, I think the results from the second half of 2009 speak for themselves”?

    I guess, this how media makes the news these days :) :)

    One thing for sure, Button puts himself under pressure for 2010 by sitting alongside Lewis. I’m sure that it is most likely that he’ll be outperformed by Lewis.

  4. mp4-19b said on 18th November 2009, 14:09

    Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

    • Lol I was wondering where you were mp4! Big, big shame about Kimi. Should be an improvement on Heikki (I hope he gets a good seat too)

      • mp4-19b said on 18th November 2009, 14:32

        I’m upset Steph! Never thought Daily mirror & Guardian could get it right!

        • Scribe said on 18th November 2009, 14:55

          As a guardian reader my heart first sank when they “announced” the deal, not the mirror or the mail, i though if they say it then it must be wrong.


        • Sorry you’re upset Mp4 but the papers had to get something right about f1 at some point :P

  5. John H said on 18th November 2009, 14:13

    At least it shows Jenson has carbon fibre balls.

    I can see it ending in tears however!

  6. mp4-19b said on 18th November 2009, 14:15

    Podium ceremonies are going to be very short!!(Cuz macca are going in for a clean sweep) “God save the queen” is the shortest anthem played in F1.

    Last time two champions were paired, McLaren whitewashed the entire field & hope will do the same.

    Hope Button stands up to Hamilton. I tend to support the weaker ones. So I pledge my support to Button.

    • !!(Cuz macca are going in for a clean sweep)

      Watch out for the red team ;)

      • What Manor?!?!? :)

      • @Step: I hope they show up with good car next season, unlike F60.

        @mp4: I would prefer mixed results, than a clean sweep. Clean sweeps tend to make the season uninteresting… we’ve seen it between 2000 and 2004. As you say, if only Mercedes had produced engine with current reliability during those years, Kimi would have given Micheal a run for his money. It would have been much more interesting, and Kimi might well have had another one or two WDC titles under his belt now.

      • you mean the red Bull team? ;-)

        • Noo I mean Ferrari everyone! :P:)
          I think next year is going to be chaotic to be honest. There are a few contenders. Lewis Jense Felipe Fernando Seb. Mark at Red Bull though he is dismissed a lot

    • I am a huge JB fan, but i agree, going to be supporting Mc now, but i dont care as long as it is “God save the queen” and not the brazilian or Spainish antheme I’ll be happy!!!

      Come on JB!

      • Scribe said on 18th November 2009, 15:00

        I’m a McLaren fan period.
        I’m going to have a little bit of a problem deciding, I think i’ll stick with Lewis though, he’s been with us longer.

        And 2007… nowt will be seen like that again.

        • Dont get me wrong, Lewis is a fantastic driver, and was in awe of his skill, i have just been supporting JB since 2000, but i have always been a closet McLaren Fan!

          • Arun.India said on 18th November 2009, 17:06

            I am with you steph ….2 former champions are going to fight but i guess for the 3rd and 4th spot in the championship….2010 is going to be painted red…

        • Lol Arun my fellow Ferrari fan I’m very excited for our team next year!

      • Martin said on 19th November 2009, 0:04

        I can bear the Brazilian anthem much better.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:38

      Last time two champions were paired, McLaren whitewashed the entire field

      … and just about tore the team apart. Not dissimilar to 2007 (although there were other complications).

      I doubt this will happen with Lewis and Jenson though. They both seem quite laid back with regards to their team mates.

  7. Sush Meerkat said on 18th November 2009, 14:19

    Luckily they haven’t fired Rubens otherwise they might be out of drivers.

  8. John H said on 18th November 2009, 14:51

    Is this the first time someone has turned down working with Ross Brawn??

    • Scribe said on 18th November 2009, 15:01


      says something about both of them doesn;t it.
      And Ross wanted Jenson, he did. Now he’s got mush to work with, hope he can sign Vettle quickly.

      • F1withMySon said on 18th November 2009, 15:20

        Actually, I’m very curious to see how Rosberg will do next year. I think he has potential to be more than “mush.”

    • Martin said on 19th November 2009, 0:10

      I dont know that RB like anyone. He just took a completely competitive team and dismantled it over money. He used finances and going out of business as a way to get JB to drop his fee for 09 and now he is still crying poor moouth for 10. He ran Reubens away when he would hve been the perfect teamate for either butoon or Rosberg. I dont see them making the podium nearly as often next year. This teams logic still mystifys me.
      He must have really disliked these 2 guys who handed him the wdc and wcc.

  9. Before this move was confirmed, even after Raikkonen was removed from the equation, I didn’t want it to happen as I wanted Button to stay at Brawn/Mercedes, so I am quite surprised at how excited I am about Hamilton and Button together at McLaren, probably my two favourite current drivers at one of my favourite teams.

    I would have preferred Button at Mercedes as unless they manage to pull off a major surprise, their 2010 driver line-up is looking the weakest of the four teams I think will be challenging for the title next year; Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes.

    Although I like both Rosberg and Heidfeld, Mercedes rumoured line-up, neither are proven race winners, has a driver ever become Champion having not won before his Championship season? I know some drivers have only won once before their Championship season most recently Button and Alonso.

    From a personal point of view I wouldn’t mind my favourite driver/team winning every race, although it would make the season boring. But as long as my favourite driver won in the end the scenario I would choose would be to have multiple drivers and teams challenging for the title and for it to go down to the wire, as not only does it make for a more exciting season overall, but in sport an achievement is even greater if you have to beat the best to do it.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:44

      the scenario I would choose would be to have multiple drivers and teams challenging for the title and for it to go down to the wire

      I’ve been saying for a while: if Button had won six of the last seven races, how exciting would that have been?!

      In the end, we can’t choose. Just because the same driver has led the championship all season, and there’s less tension at the end, doesn’t make it a boring season.

  10. F1withMySon said on 18th November 2009, 15:09

    Jenson will play a strong #2 driver to Hamilton, might bag a win or two when Hamilton is having problems, but I don’t think he will ever get the upper hand.

    McLaren however, could be in a good position for strong points finishes if they can keep Jenson focused and motivated after he realizes that he’s made a mistake by joining the team.

    Prediction for next year’s Driver’s Championship, it will be a 3-way contest with:
    – Alonso/Ferrari
    – Hamilton/Mclaren
    – Vettel/Red Bull

    If Vettel can curtail the errors/retirements then it just might be his year.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:47

      Jenson will play a strong #2 driver to Hamilton, might bag a win or two when Hamilton is having problems

      Ha! You make that sound like Jenson would voluntarily act as Lewis’ backup :)

      • F1withMySon said on 19th November 2009, 17:31

        No, unfortunately I think Jenson is in for a rude awakening when he realizes that he can’t match Hamilton’s speed.

        I like Jenson, happy for his champioship, but I think he is a good, solid tier 2 driver — not tier 1 like Hamilton, Alonso, Kimi, and Vettel.

  11. Lewis has the ability to adapt to changing circumstances within the car. I don’t think Jenson has shown that he is able to do that this year. Lewis has also proved that he can develop a bad car into a good one. I know you’ll say that was the team, but the driver must have some input to it as well.
    McLaren will not hold back one driver so the other does better, that just will not happen least of all at McLaren. They want to win, and if their so called favoured driver falls of the circuit that would be a self inflicted handicap by holding back the second driver. So I just don’t believe they would do it. This year Lewis got some development parts before Hiki, but that can be a risk too. The parts could slow the car or make it unreliable. When you are developing a good car that fighting for the championship you have more to lose. So you might put them on the unfavoured driver ie the one not fighting for the championship. This year McLaren did not have anything to lose by trying development parts so just went for it. Next year could be different.

    • Lewis has also proved that he can develop a bad car into a good one. I know you’ll say that was the team, but the driver must have some input to it as well.

      Normally I’d agree with you, but with no testing during the year, I’d say the drivers influence on car development is significantly reduced.

  12. I am not happy with the deal :-(

    Have you all forgotten how JB was commenting about his car last season? I would not like to hear such comment on our MP4/25!!

    Well, I know Ron must have told him that….

  13. The Limit said on 18th November 2009, 15:12

    About five weeks ago, around the time of the Brazilian Gp, I heard that Raikkonen had declined to do the pr work McLaren had requested him to do if he signed up with them. Since then, no one has touched on this subject, does anybody else have any information on this? If true, it certainly made McLaren’s decision to go with Jenson all the more easier.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:52

      In the past 3 seasons, how many times have you seen Kimi posing for PR photos or schmoozing with Ferrari sponsors? He obviously had a sweet low-commitment deal with Ferrari (perhaps in their haste to replace Schuey) and Kimi wants more of the same. Unfortunately, not many teams can let a driver get away with that.

  14. TimmyA said on 18th November 2009, 15:22

    Button is a good driver but the reason he won this season is because of the first 7 races if not for that catchup period that everyone had to take it would have been a much different story. Just look at the last 8 races Hamilton outscored button and won more races. Even though I like Jenson, Lewis is just going to have better pace easily.

    It would be cool if Schumi came back though and not under the Ferrari name.

  15. So Raikkonen didn’t want to do the Vodaphone commercials, I guess.

    Button is a skilled driver—somewhere among the best of the second tier—but he is going to have some trouble because 1. the lack of permitted testing miles, 2. new engineers and new engineering, and 3. the pressure to repeat and thus quiet the whispers of “undeserving champion.” I would also point out that, as a very tall driver, he had the luxury of a car designed to suit him and manage weight distribution accordingly; he won’t have such a car at McLaren.

    • Yes and how many champions have been able to retain their title the following year?

      • It’s not too soon to forget that Alonso and Hakkinen did it, and Schumacher, obviously, a few times. And Alonso came within a hair’s breadth of taking three in a row—in a new car. In fact, since 1990, there have been eight repeats, and only six drivers before Button were not “repeaters” in that period. So, yes, if the car is good, Button will be under legitimate and fair pressure to repeat if he wants to be seen as a true peer of his recent WDC predecessors.

    • F1withMySon said on 18th November 2009, 15:40

      Completely agree.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 21:58

      as a very tall driver, he had the luxury of a car designed to suit him and manage weight distribution accordingly; he won’t have such a car at McLaren.

      Why on earth not? Kubica is also a tall driver. Are you suggesting he will be useless in a 2010 Renault because he is tall and they didn’t build him a car in 2009?

      Racing cars are bespoke machines and driven by just two people. Of course the car is designed to suit both Lewis and Jenson. It’s only November, the MP4-25 isn’t finished just yet.

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