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. In light of Whitmarsh’s cruel comments about Button’s pay, it seems all the more pathetic that Raikkonen walked away from this seat to avoid the occasional shopping mall parking lot autograph scrum.

    Yes he is a Real Racer and whatever, but the team pays his salary in part via sponsors who rightfully expect and have paid for high-profile shilling by superstar drivers. You can’t say, “pay me a mint but the people funding my salary can go pound sand.”

    I’ve been a fan so long, even when he went red, but one has to view his exit as a sad but fitting coda to career known for brilliant driving but terminally marred by a immature, selfish attitude.

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

      Apparently Raikkonen stood to lose a million by racing for Mclaren as opposed to not racing in F1 at all.

      • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:29

        I heard about that but I don’t understand why Ferrari would pay off Kimi less money if he drove for another team?

        Perhaps they would find it embarrassing if he kicked Alonso’s bottom. And beat him on track of course.

  2. Arun.India said on 18th November 2009, 17:11

    I don’t like JB and feel he doesn’t deserve to be world champ. But his move to maca serves ross brawn right.Poor fellow took pay cut to save the team,and all he asked was his previous salary.Now brawn will mostly have wannabe winner nick heidfeld to partner Rosberg, both haven’t won a race and both aren’t going to win any either.

    • mp4-19b said on 18th November 2009, 17:22

      both haven’t won a race and both aren’t going to win any either.

      200% agreed! The next GP winner for Merc F1 will be Vettel.

      • I think they could get their first wins. I’ll be very happy if Nick gets it.

        • Its Hammer time said on 18th November 2009, 17:54

          Absolutely me too. I think from where we sit now we have 8 drivers in the 4 top teams who will all be scrapping for points and swapping positions next year! I haven’t done any work today I have been so excited

          • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:31

            If only it were that simple. I have a feeling the expected hierarchy will become muddled. Remember when everyone thought BMW would be winning in 2009?

      • marcus said on 18th November 2009, 17:54

        Nah vettel will drive for Ferrari and become the next Schumacher, I reckon he will replace Massa depending how good or bad Alonso does.

        • Interesting theory. I think Mercedes want Seb though and maybe that was also behind Button’s thinking with his own position. Seb’s contract also runs longer than Felipe’s. If he is replaced it will more than likely be with Robert Kubica. However, I know him and Fernando are friends but Alonso considers him a very good driver and therefore a challenge so who knows what will happen there.
          Seb could go to Ferrari in a few years but again I don’t know how Alonso would feel about that :P

          • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:33

            Huh? Don’t forget Red Bull have been supporting Vettel for years. They haven’t finished with him yet, and if they continue to build cars as quick as the RB5, he won’t want to go anywhere else.

    • Patrickl said on 18th November 2009, 21:40

      I think people seriously underestimate Rosberg.

      The reason that Rosberg scored so many points and Nakajima none is not because Nakajima is no good at all. If anything Nakajima is about the same level as Kobayashi.

      Give Rosberg a really good car and a good strategy (which Williams sorely lacked this season) and he could be amazing.

      • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:36

        If anything Nakajima is about the same level as Kobayashi.

        Then how come Nakajima has been entirely uninspiring in two years at Williams, yet in just two races Kobayashi is pulling feisty overtakes and scoring a handful of points?

  3. I can’t understand why Button changed teams, it would b better 4 him 2 have stayed in Brawn, anyway hope he does well though i don’t see him beating Lewis

  4. Thats a shame. Hoping Raikkonen would get the seat.

  5. mp4-19b said on 18th November 2009, 17:32

    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.”

    “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.”

    Hope all those STRONG words are not a DUD!

    • Well their car should be quick but they will have competition.

    • I am little surprised at the way predictions are made about Mclaren without even once going on a test track with the other 2010 challengers. They may have done a good job but underestimating others would not be a wise stuff. They had a real bad car on the beginning of the year. Remember all that green paint on the chassis for aero-corrections.

      Given that KERS was their advantage this year and the same would not be available next year would be another thing to note.

      • Patrickl said on 18th November 2009, 21:41

        The only team that openly declared that their car for next year is not going to be really good was Renault.

        Every other team said next years car will be a lot better than this year’s car. Why would McLaren not say the same?

      • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:45

        Given that KERS was their advantage this year…

        Funny how KERS used to be the thing that was holding everyone back.

  6. marcus said on 18th November 2009, 17:42

    I think i wont bother betting who will win the season but bet where jenson will finish i smell a 2nd or 3rd for him tbh in a decent mclaren.

    yes hamilton is a better driver when the whole rules are around speed for the young guns and being regardless of the tyres being worn to the bone because of fuel pitstops giving them a reason to stop.

    But this is 2010 the rules now favour Jenson, Webber, Rosberg, Heidfeild and Ferrari’s etc now, because they are good at slowing tyre ware so i just dont understand why people are saying hamilton is going to destroy button in points because he is better?. Lewis would probably look strong from the start because he is at the front, but wait until it comes to the time to change tyres those other drivers will outlast him for another 3-4 laps while lewis is stuck at the back because he had to replace them early.

    Lets imagine both jenson and hamilton went on top gear again to do that fast lap in a resonably priced car this time about 60 laps and together in the same car. We all know Lewis would attack from the start while jenson is taking it like a normal driver taking his grandmother shopping. First 20 laps lewis is faster by abit, laps 20-40, soon lewis’ tyres start to ware down button keeps a steady time still and is sometimes beating lewis’ times, last 20 laps, jenson’s tyres are starting to fade abit but still enough to keep the same time because of less fuel and maybe still able to go faster, lewis has worn his tyres smoother then a baby’s bottom he has no grip jenson overtakes lewis, lewis cant do anything with no grip, he tries to catch up but spins off doing so.

    thats all i can see for Lewis in 2010, either he has the best car for 2010 by miles to win the season or Lewis is the next jesus of F1 and can slow tyre ware on his car better then those guys with no experience doing so. IMHO i can really, really, really, really only see lewis get 4th best in 2010 im not joking btw, just because it isnt his field of expertise. If he does that good i can see him getting 2011 depending how the other teams are doing.

    • Too funny. Marcus, I am absolutely certain that the tires would not be the first thing to fail on a Lacetti if Hamilton were flogging it for 20 laps.

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

      Lewis Hamilton actually was on Top Gear. His lap was absolutely staggering. It had everybody in awe.

      He was almost as fast in the wet as the other F1 drivers were on a dry track!

      I’ll agree that the new regs favour Button, btu Hamilton learned a lot about preserving the tyres this season already.

      I think the reason that people see button getting slaughtered is that Button struggled beating Barrichello. A driver who would be normally classed a midfielder. Hamilton took care of Alonso when still a rookie. Quite a different level of driver. So why would Hamilton have any trouble beating someone on the level of an aging midfielder?

      • marcus said on 18th November 2009, 22:44

        Only because he was driving it around like a go-kart destroying the tyres. i bet you he couldnt do that for a whole race without going through 3 sets of tyres.

      • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:51

        Button struggled beating Barrichello. A driver who would be normally classed a midfielder.

        Button outclassed Barrichello at the beginning of the season, and kept up with him in the second half. Hardly “struggling” is it.

        You can’t say Barri was a midfielder this season: two wins and 3rd in the championship is better than that.

    • thestig84 said on 18th November 2009, 22:09

      Your forgetting next year the cars go quicker after stopping.

      So if LH does used up his tyres 3-4 laps earlier (i dont agree, he did a great job on tyres last year compared to 07/08. Hungary was a good example) He will go quicker than Button on his old tyres…just needs to be fed into clean air.

      Bring it on! Personally im a huge Mclaren fan and dont mind button but he has never got me excited about his driving like LH has. He isnt really a Mclaren looking driver to me. At least he will pick up solid points following LH home a bit higher up the order than Kov.

      Other point…will he be able to keep the face fluff to suit Mclarens clean look?? or is it ok post Ron??

  7. rampante said on 18th November 2009, 17:44

    Just for the record, Kimi does adverts for Shell,Alice(mobile network) and Fiat all on TV here in Italy. He was also on the main 2hr F1 programe nearly every week and always gave interviews at race weekends.

  8. Gwenouille said on 18th November 2009, 18:03

    Waw !!!
    That is some eye-catching line-up !

    As a Frenchman I have to say that you Brits should be proud of you: 2 reigning champions in an home-based team: extremely impressive !

    It may well be very “A1GP style” next year with 2 Englishmen in a english team, 2 latin drivers at Ferrari, maybe 2 Germans at Mercedes (Rosberg/Heidfeld ???)

    Send Bourdais to Renault, quick !

    I’ll have a look at Rosberg next year: I think he’ll do well

  9. Gwenouille said on 18th November 2009, 18:10

    I think JB should have stayed with BRawn/Mercedes though… Ross Brawn IS the winning machine in F1.

    Maybe the 2nd half of the season was too tense there ?

    I am fed up with reading “Ham will destroy JB”… Are you 10 yo kids swrming over their super-hero’s powers ?
    There are many more parameters, and I don’t think Button will be ridiculous next year. I too suspect he will score less points, but the Ham/JB ratio won’t be a Rosberg/Nak or an Alonso/Piquet ratio.

  10. ValveGuy said on 18th November 2009, 18:15

    I can’t help but think Brawn dropped the ball on this one. Is it too unrealistic to cough up a little more money for the guy who just won you the world championship? Especially after he took a pay cut to help the team out when money was tight? Just sayin’…

  11. You gotta hand it to the boy – he’s got some nuts.

    He’s obviously confident enough in his own abilities to VOLUNTEER to go HEAD to HEAD in the SAME CAR as one of the most precocious talents on the grid – the safer option would have been to stay at Mercedes GP – But as he says he wants to set himself new challenges and test himself against the best opposition he can find – even Schumacher wouldn’t do that in equal machinery – it also transpires that it wasn’t about money as he is on no more at McLaren than he would have got at Mercedes GP

    You gotta ask yourselves who would he have faired better against Rosberg or Hamilton – He’s CHOSEN the harder nut to crack …I can’t wait :)

    As soon as Jenson won his title Hamilton was proclaiming that he is the best driver in F1 – in effect throwing down the gauntlet – well Jenson’s picked it up & slapped him round the face with it ….. I bet you Lewis didn’t expect that !

    This is like a unification fight in boxing Jenson’s won his latest fight – with Lewis looking on from ringside – Lewis has called him out and Jenson’s straight back in his Face !

    In those time honoured words of Michael Buffer……
    Leeeeeeeeeeet’s Get Ready to Ruuuuumble :)

  12. Taking personal sponsorship into account it seems JB has gone for a lower salary at McL. I think he is gambling on McL still being a good car next year and the no-fuelling suiting his style over Hams.
    However, Ross B is no fool and I would agree with previous comment and not be surprised to see Sch return in a Merc. And if the Merc ain’t fast enough there might be some ‘unused’ hidden menu choices on the dashboard.
    I would hope that JB has had a quiet chat with Heikki before jumping…

  13. exciting to say at least!

    The no refuel will suit Button more probably, but all in all Hamilton is the better, if not the best driver!

    But I see Jenson coming close.

  14. Ronman said on 18th November 2009, 19:15

    2 brits at McLaren, 2 Germans at Mercedes(potentially)indian drivers at Force India in 2012, god forbid Italians at Ferrari….hummm it’s A1 Gp-powered by Mercedes-in the making..

    but seriously… i predict a dominant dominating 2010 season from McLaren… they are the only team to have the most consistency moving on from 2009. the only change is Jenson, (and what a change that is)… all the other teams, bar Ferrari have a lot of changes to deal with…but Ferrari have a long way to go to get a 2010 championship winning car….

    • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 22:59

      but Ferrari have a long way to go to get a 2010 championship winning car…

      I don’t understand why they abandoned the F60 so early. Are they reinventing the wheel? (I got that line from a management meeting.) So the F61 (?) could be something special… or a proper cockup because they didn’t evolve it from the F60.

  15. We’ll just have to see how this is going to turn out next year. But I like it anyways. Because now, they can put all the shots of Buttons father and Hamiltons father/girlfriend together (as there all in the same pitbox, or close atleast), which leaves more time for things that I actually want to see while watching F1.

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