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. Thandi said on 18th November 2009, 19:21

    Why do Jenson look so sad in all the pictures i’ve seen of him since the announcement?

    Poor thing.
    Mercedes is wrong for letting him go.

    He may be at Mclaren now, but his heart is at Brawn/Mercedes

    Just sad

  2. Button will most likely finish more races than Hamilton. I think Hamilton will win more races.

    I think Button is probably the best choice McLaren could have made to partner Hamilton. I doubt Jenson is going to anyone sail off into the distance if he can possibly help it and he’s not going to end up looking like the nondescript second driver. I suspect McLaren are hoping Hamilton might learn a thing or two about tyre management from Button.

    It will be interesting to see just how the two compare.

  3. Net Sticks said on 18th November 2009, 20:15

    Good for them ALL – A great all British team with two of the best drivers and maybe the best infrastructure behind them! Good luck Hamilton and Button! And we will be waiting for the first frictions on Ferrari, between Massa and that arrogant Spaniard Alonso.

  4. Owen G said on 18th November 2009, 20:20

    2 things – firstly I’m surprised how very few comments have mentioned the one thing that came in to my mind when this was announced…What an incredibly gutsy decision from Jenson. Fair play to him,m he gets my respect for this. He’s taken probably the one seat on the grid that threatens his credibility the most.

    Secondly, all this tyre-wear nonsense about Hamilton. So what if he burns off into the distance chewing up his tyres? He is actually allowed to change them. This is one of the big potential plusses for getting rid of refuelling. We could see a tyre conserving Button being chased down by a freshly shod Hamilton over the final few laps for victory.

    • marcus said on 18th November 2009, 21:43

      Not if Hamilton keeps being put at the back of the pack every time he needs to change tyres.

      He will be lucky to be within 20 seconds of jenson at the end of the race if he cant maintain his tyres fresh or not at the final laps. Hamilton wont be able to drive 100% of his ability next year because he will have to develop a jenson style of driving to do well with these rules being up. Other then that this is Jenson’s “hood” for racing, it’s like Rafael Nadal on a clay court he has natural feel for that.

  5. Icthyes said on 18th November 2009, 20:23

    This is brilliant for McLaren and Hamilton, and baffling but very brave by Button – kudos to him for having the balls to challenge Lewis in the same team.

    Ross Brawn will be regretting this. As good as Rosberg and Heidfeld are, they’re not going to take the team anywhere in partnership with each other. Ross better hope Schumacher has a change of heart (though that would be pretty awesome!)

  6. Omegaz3ro said on 18th November 2009, 20:44

    Now that’s gonna be funny.

  7. Gustav said on 18th November 2009, 20:51

    I can’t see how people can possibly think Button will stand a chance against Hamilton. Yes there will be rule changes, but Lewis’ talent is immensely bigger, he will eat Button on raw pace. His very first drive of 2009 in Australia confirmed this – Button never proved himself to be any good in a dog of a car.

  8. rikhart said on 18th November 2009, 21:29

    Poor jenson, wont be pretty. At least should provide some comic value.

  9. Good news, go Woking. Button has cashed in at his peak, why not. McLaren wouldn’t have touched the “playboy” a year ago.
    Should make for good sport though, especially the GB v Deutschland between McL & the Merc team. But maybe that’s for 2011, we’d better wrap up the Ities first :)

  10. Sharon said on 18th November 2009, 21:38

    As I have posted previously I initially didn’t want this to happen, but now that it has and I have had some chance to think about it, I am excited to see how two very different drivers, both of whom I admire for different reasons, compare against each other in what will hopefully be a very competitive car.

    I really do think Button is (still) underrated by many and although my instinct is that Hamilton will have the edge, I think it will be close and not the whitewash that some are predicting. I think Hamilton is stronger in terms of pure pace, particularly in qualifying, but that Button is equally as good a racer and more consistent.

    The debate of what makes the best driver is as old as F1 itself and over the time I have been following F1 the great and good drivers to me have fallen into one of two mutually exclusive categories – those who are constantly pushing on the limit, are generally faster but make more mistakes, and those who drive marginally within the limit and are more consistent. The former type are generally more exciting to watch and that leads many to perceive them as the best, but the latter type are often equally if not more successful. I am looking forward to seeing two drivers who to me typify these two styles going head to head in the same car and finding out which one comes out on top, because I see it being very close.

    I don’t see the comparisons to 2007, frankly. Alonso as double world champion expected to be given preference over the rookie and wasn’t, then had a tantrum about it. I have never been a McLaren fan (this will be a record for me, in 25 years of following F1 this will be the first time of me desperately hoping they produce a championship contender of a car) but I believe Hamilton and Alonso were treated equally and it was equal, not preferential treatment that Alonso wasn’t happy about. I do however think that JB might be at a slight disadvantage initially being the newbie in the team, but that won’t last long if this does indeed turn out to be a long term (ie several seasons) arrangement.

    As an aside, why do so many people think Hamilton’s dad has so much influence at McLaren? Utter tosh IMO.

    I am among those who respect JB immensely for opting to challenge Hamilton in the same team, something that many F1 champions have balked at. Schuey of course, you can’t deny his ability and achievements but to me they are tarnished by the contract terms he had over his respective teammates. Even Prost and Senna vetoed one another in the early 90s, although of course went head to head in the same team in 88.

    I’m left wondering though, what went wrong between Button and Brawn/Merc, who both seemed so sure they would stay together. From the rumours going round, it seems like length of contract might well have been the sticking point and it was the reported 3 year deal offered by McLaren that was the clincher. It could have been the money, but who knows, as it was widely quoted that JB wanted £8 million pa with some reports saying Brawn/Merc would match it and others saying not, yet the deal with VMM is apparently £6 million pa.

    Bring on Bahrain 2010!

    • Excellent comment. Exactly what I was thinking, no doubt put much more eloquently than I could have.

      I think this is a great move for McLaren, who in Hamilton have an attack-dog who either finishes 1st or not at all, and in Button have a consistent guy who will always get some points. This is what the team has been missing in having Heikki, and will vastly increase their chances of winning a constructors championship next year.

      Should be a fun year next year.

  11. dibble said on 18th November 2009, 22:03

    im gutted for my wallet last week brought jb t shirts and coat for my son for xmas,now he gonna want jb mclaren stuff

  12. christopher (sennaboy3) said on 18th November 2009, 22:17

    i’m no HAM fan but he is going to CRUSH poor jenson. best part about BUT has always been his girlfriend. GO SENNA!!

  13. I’m so confused :( I started supporting mclaren Mercedes when they teamed up in 1995. My local team is Mclaren as I live near woking. But my whole family drive Mercedes. I love being british. But I work at a German bank snd enjoy it. I like Lewis, jenson, nick and nico. I like ron. I like Ross. I just don’t know how to choose. Keith, I need you to run a poll for me lol!!!! :)

  14. The Sri Lankan said on 18th November 2009, 22:36

    Button – Perpare to be Destroyed by hamilton

  15. Maclarista said on 18th November 2009, 22:50

    Hey guys in Brazil the website is saying that Raikkonen has signed a contract with the new Mercedes team for next year.,,MUL1384006-15011,00-KIMI+RAIKKONEN+ACERTA+COM+A+MERCEDES.html

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