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%)

Total Voters: 3,592

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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

  1. GeeMac said on 18th November 2009, 15:42

    Jeepers its a landslide in favour of Lewis at the moment…so little faith in Jenson.
    Would the result be different if we did this poll after Turkey?

    • As it stands now it pretty much reflects a poll the BBC had on their website which ran for about an hour or so after the news was confirmed, although it only had two options.

      Which driver will be more successful next season?
      17% – Button
      83% – Hamilton
      Total votes cast 20974

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8363892.stm

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:00

      Would the result be different if we did this poll after Turkey?

      Good point. There was a lot of negative talk about Lewis early in the season, saying he couldn’t develop a car and that his time in the sun was over. How quickly opinions change eh!

      • pSynrg said on 18th November 2009, 23:17

        Well that’s what proving yourself and earning respect is all about.

        If 2009 was a championship for that then Lewis won by a mile.

        Jenson will be quicker than Kovi though…

        • Nitpicker said on 19th November 2009, 10:21

          Well that’s what proving yourself and earning respect is all about.

          Precisely what Button is doing by signing for McLaren. We’ve heard stories of drivers such as Schuey, Alonso and Rosberg being wary of quick team mates. Thumbs up to Jenson for stepping out of his comfort zone a little and seeing exactly how he stacks up.

  2. theRoswellite said on 18th November 2009, 15:51

    Brawn is gone, and now the World Champ as well. If MB sign Heidfield, it will be an all German affair. (Perhaps BMW’s decision to get out of Dodge, before Big Brother’s train rolled into town, wasn’t all about the economy ?)

    It will be interesting to see how tolerant the team will be, if they aren’t winning. Second place, historically, never interested them much, and being defeated by your own engine….all the ingredients for a Teutonic stew.

    And this with the ghost of Alfred Neuhbauer drifting around the pits…they had better keep the silver polish handy, something may get tarnished.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:03

      I don’t understand half of what you’re saying, but…

      It sounds like Merc wants to continue Brawn’s cheap ‘n cheerful approach, so that will be interesting to see next year.

      As Keith says in the article, Merc have given up a stake in a great team in order to have control of their own. If it’s not an all-out manufacturer assault like we’re used to, what will happen?

    • Harvs said on 20th November 2009, 8:32

      i would have loved to see marcedes vs bmw, unfortunatly with bmw out when mercedes was born, doesnt alow it to happen, then again audi have been roumered to be thinking of f1 entry in 2011 maybe under audi or even the porsche name, so we may yet to see a german powerhouse scrap

  3. I’ve got so much to say it will just have to be bullet points:

    1 Ross Brawn obviously wanted Jenson so he hasn’t got much clout in the new organisation!

    2 Button obviously felt unwanted at Brawn/Mercedes so he was right to move,

    3 Ron Dennis ran the team around Lewis I but I don’t that’s the case now.

    4 I’m glad most of the posts on this forum are fairly pro Jenson, why do some people have to be so down right nasty?

    5 Has Ross ever had to work with such unproven drivers as he will have for next year? What a mistaka to maka!

    6 Go for it Jens (and Lewis) prove all the doubters wrong and come 1st and 2nd, I don’t really mind which way round.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th November 2009, 18:43

      5 Has Ross ever had to work with such unproven drivers as he will have for next year? What a mistaka to maka!

      Yay! An “Allo Allo” reference on my blog :-)

      • Keith Brazilian sources reporting Kimi has signed with Mercedes. Do you know anything? Globo is meant to be saying it to. I have no idea why Brazil would know before Finland but how plausible is this?
        Usually I’m sceptic of such reports but after today…

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:09

      come 1st and 2nd, I don’t really mind which way round.

      Hear hear!

  4. LewisC said on 18th November 2009, 15:59

    Hamilton:
    I’m already looking forward to Silverstone

    Does he know something we don’t?

  5. He has chased a bigger payday than Brawn was prepared to offer. Pure and simple. He will be in a hugely competitive car and, yes, he will get some results because of it. But he should have stayed put. He will get buried by Hamilton.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 19th November 2009, 2:46

      Actually, if you read some of the reports detailing Mercedes’ reaction to it all, they reckon they offered Button more than McLaren did. Reports claim McLaren are paying Button six million, bu Mercedes were offering eight.

      • Really? What does that say about Button? Going to McLaren for less money? He thinks he’s going to be driving a better car? He just won the world championship in a Brawn. He sounds like he has the same people advising him as when he left Williams for Honda and then wanted to go back to Williams again. (Or something like that. As you know, it was a number of years ago.) Anyhow, Fry is less than complimentary in his interview with Autosport.com.

        • Prisoner Monkeys said on 19th November 2009, 6:01

          It says that money is not his priority. He clearly thinks that McLaren can offer him a better car, and certainly a more stable environment than Brawn. Yes, he won a World Championship for a team that, by rights, should not have existed at the beginning of the year, but it was a very stressful period. And now they’re undergoing another regime change. I you read the interview with Fry, you’ll see he clearly thinks Button owed his championship to Brawn and decided to play hardball.

          The McLaren MP/4-24 was far and away the best car on the grid by the end of 2009, and will form the basis of the MP/4-25 for 2010. But there’s something far more telling in all of this: Button went to McLaren just as Mercedes left them. Normally, you’d think he’d be very silly for doing so, but McLaren may just have an ace hidden up their sleeves: Button’s best seasons have come when he drives for independent teams.

          He was first for Brawn in 2009, third for BAR in 2004, and on debut with Williams, he was eighth overall, which was pretty impressive. At the same time, his worst seasons have been with manufacturers: seventeenths in 2002 for Bennetton (but by then they were effectively a works Renault team). Fifteenth in 2007 for Honda, and sixteenth for the same team in 2008. He does have the odd good season for manufacturers – 2003′s seventh place and 2006′s sixth both stand out – but for the mos part, he seems more comfortable in private teams.

          • Well, I think money is a part of his priorities. Yes, I guess he must think McLaren can offer him a better car. (Their history certainly points to that.) I do think Brawn is not a stressful environment. Ross Brawn has proven himself to be an excellent, no drama, team manager. Particularly since Brawn has now made it through their first year so successfully. I do think McLaren has a bit of change going on inside their team also. Admittedly, they have pretty big cash reserves to help steady the ship. Yes, McLaren was, in my mind, the best car on the grid at the end of the season. (Being run pretty close by Red Bull.)You make a good argument PM, but I guess my bottom line is that Button is going to have an awfully hard time matching and bettering Hamilton’s efforts. That fact will cause an unstable situation for Jenson. Hope he is up for the challenge. Apparently he thinks so.

  6. macahan said on 18th November 2009, 16:04

    ayyy don’t think that is the smartest move Jenson have ever done far from it. Why should things be different this time? If the DOUBLE world champion Alonso was put to the side and Hamilton given the number one driver treatment (even if the team claimed not to) but actions speak more then words. Hamilton being given the last qualification lap, lighter fuel loads for better pole position. Of course the break apart inside McL was largely due to Alonso wanted to be #1 driver and didn’t get the treatment and felt they gave Hamilton that spot no matter what they say. No matter what Brawn might say Button got then #1 treatment (Rubens all a sudden put on 3 stopper in a race nobody sane normally 3 stops, Rubens being told to slow down and save the engine when he had better pace then Button and maybe/maybe not could challange him for win, Rubens frequently got the heavier car for the race..).
    Now Button is WDC and been treat as #1. Will he be satisfied of being treated as #2? Or even 50/50 as #1 at best. I got my doubts. But maybe he will he’s pretty timid but this year we seen the spark from him showing that he wants to be #1..

    Going to be a fun season to watch. Feeling McL might disintegrate once again partly through the season.. Becaused Hamilton looooves to be in the lime light… If he is not well he (or his dad) will do anything to get him in the lime light again.. Be interesting what words comes from Lewis or his dad here today.. Something WILL be said in the next few days that I’m sure of…

    • F1withMySon said on 18th November 2009, 16:31

      I think you are overestimating both Button men. I don’t think the Hamilton’s will ever feel very threatened by them…

    • Patrickl said on 18th November 2009, 21:33

      “Rubens all a sudden put on 3 stopper in a race nobody sane normally 3 stops”

      Dude seriously. Both cars were on a 3-stop strategy, because Brawn thought that was best. Get over yourself.

      They swapped Button because they could foresee the strategy not working for him. IF Barrichello had kept up the pace (ie not slumped during one of his stints) he could have kept the position.

      • Maciek said on 19th November 2009, 13:40

        You need to stop telling people to get over themselves, when what you mean is that you don’t agree with them. It’s got no class.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:13

      don’t think that is the smartest move Jenson have ever done far from it.

      Are you one of these types that would have criticised Button if he’d turn down the McLaren offer?

      Hamilton being given the last qualification lap, lighter fuel loads for better pole position.

      Ah, it turns out you are one of those types. Having a light fuel load is a big advantage all of a sudden eh?

  7. F1 Oldstager said on 18th November 2009, 16:06

    JB did the right thing this afternoon….he went to Brackley and did his signing duties as promised! won’t have been easy for him but give the guy his dues…..he said he wasn’t happy with the negotiations, didn’t force a Dutch auction which NF said he wouldn’t get into. Idom’t think RB or NF (or Mercedes for that matter) tried hard enough to keep JB. Good luck to him at Mclaren….it’s going to be hard for him but he knows what he’s bought into for 2010. I also think Lewis will be fair with himss JB was one of his hero’s from his karting days……JB was the driver the youngsters always looked up to….including Lewis

  8. Hotbottoms said on 18th November 2009, 16:06

    Button made a stupid mistake. To be honest he’s not much of a driver whereas Hamilton is in top3 of the current drivers. I’m expecting Button to have a very humiliating season next year.

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:16

      You’re right, it sure was humiliating for Button this year too, winning more races than anyone else and wrapping up the championship with one round to spare. He must feel like a right chump.

      • Hotbottoms said on 19th November 2009, 8:27

        Are you misunderstanding my comment on purpose or are you just dumb?

        • Nitpicker said on 19th November 2009, 10:25

          I think you’re seriously underestimating how competitive F1 actually is. Do you think any driver could have delivered Button’s performances this year if they were “not much of a driver”?

          • Hotbottoms said on 19th November 2009, 13:44

            No. I don’t think that for instance Nakajima could have delivered in the same way.

            However, I’m pretty sure Heikki Kovalainen could’ve get the same results in Button’s car. And that’s where Button is in my ranking – right next to Heikki Kovalainen who was humiliated in 2008 and 2009 with Hamilton.

            The biggest reason why Barrichello (whom I also consider to be “not much of a driver”) lost so much points to Button was his breaks – after changing them Barrichello was as good or even better than Button.

            I’m not saying Button didn’t deserve his title, of course he did. He took his championship when he had the chance to do it and therefore deserves his title. But if he didn’t have so overpowered car at the beginning of the season or if his team mate had been any better than second-rate Barrichello or if Barrichello didn’t have so many problems or if Red Bull hadn’t screwed up so many times, Button couldn’t have delivered.

  9. It will be great for Bitish F1 fans, and I’m a Scott! Just like Stewart and Clark rivalry, but they did not drive in the same team. They had some great banter though. I remember chuckling at a piece I read where the young Stewart impressed the crowd about taking this corner almost flat. When Clark butted in and said “so you actually lift there?”

  10. Ciaran said on 18th November 2009, 16:12

    Good news to me, as we can see how good Button really is. Only thing is, Kimis without a drive!

  11. Oh..and the next announcement your gonna hear is the 2010 Brawn lineup of Rosberg and Heidfeld. It’s a little mediocre, but they will produce results with the Brawn/Merc car. The only surprise that could come of all of this. Perhaps Brawn/Merc will make the “SHOCK” announcement that leading the team in 2010 will be MS. Ross and MS were spotted more than once in Abu Dhabi in deep conversation. What do you think they were talking about….fishing? :-)

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:22

      Perhaps Heidfeld with a Merc engine could beat his own extremely boring reliability record.

      Ross and MS were spotted more than once in Abu Dhabi in deep conversation. What do you think they were talking about…fishing?

      You never know, perhaps they still have something to talk about after 12 years of working together.

  12. The Irony is that If Jenson were to be Lewis teammate this year nobody would have even said a word. I mean all of a sudden button is an extreme talent now. He could not even get to the podium in the second part of the year. Mclaren did not take him because he was a talent but they took him only for the media glitz and a better No 2 driver for Lewis.

    In fact whitmarsh quoted that

    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,

    which ideally mean he got pushed out of Brawn team as EJ mentioned and in a frenzy got the only place that is left in Mclaren.

    Frankly Lewis is an extreme talent and Jenson is no match to him.It kind of makes me remind the opening scene of the Disney animation movie “CARS”

    Lewis would be saying

    “Speed , I am Speed. 1 winner and 25 losers…I eat losers for Breakfast …err sorry I eat Jenson for breakfast”

    I sincerly wish Button proves otherwise.

    Moreover look at the hype that is created around McLaren all of a sudden. Everybody is speaking as if they have won both the championships next year. Remember the game is changing a bit next year and also
    Mclaren had the advantage of KERS during the later part of the year over others.

    Too Much of underestimation of Ferrari and Ross Brawn. Hope Mclaren lives to their expectation next year.

    The only absolute certainty in this is Lewis. Rest everything is still speculation and needs to be proven.

    • Patrickl said on 18th November 2009, 21:35

      If EJ said anything then it must have been wrong.

      Brawn actually tried to keep Button just before he signed for McLaren.

      • manatcna said on 19th November 2009, 1:32

        Yep, he was amazed all right
        Brawn were trying to screw Button, but who’s sorry now?

      • It is not Brawn throwing out Button but Mercedes throwing out Button. How else can we justify Whitmarsh’s statement that they are not offering anything more and Fry’s subsequent statement that Mercedes offer was higher

        Anyway losing button is not a big loss overall other than the number on the car because any average can do what button did. Lets get it straight it was the Ross Brawn car and a team mate who is too weak and old.

  13. Now if we get Nico in Mercedes GP I will be a happy man. I hope he gets it and wins. I would love to see a a Vettle vs Rosberg vs Hamilton vs Button for title. I can dream.

  14. Well, I’m Indian… and i’ll be supporting McLaren…. for some reason I’m confident they’ll get the constructors next year.

  15. mp4-19b said on 18th November 2009, 16:47

    When was the last time we’ve had a “FINNless” Grid?

    There is an old saying:—> if you want to win, just hire a Finn.

    Sad :( very depressing :(

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