Jenson Button has left Ross Brawn's team to join McLaren

McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010

2010 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.”

300 comments on “McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010”

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  1. Is it just me, or has F1 just made a move towards being more A1GP-ish? It started with Force India, then anouncements of the USF1 team, now suddenly McClaren is a throughly British team with two british drivers, Brawn/Mercedes talk of having Rosberg and perhaps another German, I even read one speculation of Montagny going to race for Renault! Ofcourse, the teams aren’t anywhere near being 100% drawn along national lines, but its a lot closer all of a sudden.

  2. Listen very carefully I shall say this only once. The basket is being woven by the weavers of wimalow!

  3. Feel sorry for Button. He stayed with the team through thick and thin, won them the WDC the first time they had a good car, and is now forced out over a few million dollars even after the backing of Mercedes. He shouldn’t have had to do this.

    1. There isn’t any proof he was forced out, unless you believe the tin foil hat brigade about Mercedes suddenly insisting on German drivers. They hadn’t before, why would they now?

  4. The Sri Lankan
    19th November 2009, 3:52

    this is one of those career destroying stunts by Jenson and his managers. forget being a world champion again button.

  5. Is this World War II all over again? The Allies vs. the Axis. You got your Brits, Italians, Germans, French, Americans, Indians, but no Asians. Wait, we got Malaysians. Very Nationalistic. Looks exciting. May the best country win.

  6. Lewis Hamilton is an awesome driver who will get the most out of any car he is given, he is pure racing talent. Jenson Button is an intelligent driver, who given a car that suits his super smooth style will wipe the floor with anybody, he takes a much more intelligent approach which is why he won the championship this year when he was in the third fastest car for half of the season.

    Combined I think they are a deadly force. But if McLaren make another pig, which I highly doubt, Lewis will kick his ass.

    I’m happy because my two favourite drivers are at my favourite team.

    I sure all your hammy bashers and jenson bashers will be eating your words at the end of 2010!

  7. I don’t know what to make of this really! I think Button made a bad choice leaving Mercedes to be honest. Sure, McClaren is a great team but there’s no doubt in my mind that they will give Hamilton the same no. 1 special treatment that the’ve been giving him the past 3 years. So Button’s “no. 1” won’t change that. As for McClaren I think they could have done better with Kimi, Kubica or Heidfeld. It’s probably more a sponsors deal, 2 British drivers in a British team.. I doubt Button will do better than Kovalainen really but we’ll see. I’d like to see Rosberg and Heidfeld at Mercedes though!

  8. For pure spectacle and thrill of the story-line, I’d have preferred Kimi. But the no refueling next year and the equalization of qualy fuel loads could mean Button is nearer to Hamilton than anticipated. Button’s also shown this year he’s a dab hand at overtaking when necessary too. So maybe he’s the intelligent option for McLaren – less expensive and happier sponsors as well. Just hope 2010’s model doesn’t start out life as an overstuffed shopping trolley on ice.

  9. Already the British media are partisan: pro-Button and anti-Hamilton. I’ve read loads of articles in all the main papers and the common themes are:

    – Lewis’ dad will try and make things difficult, whereas Button’s dad is a decent chap, laid back who doesn’t get involved

    – Button can try and beat Lewis because of his beautiful smooth style and he is underrated (i.e. obviously no-one wants Lewis to win, so we are printing stories about Button winning)

    – Hamilton is paid more than Button which proves there will be unequal treatment

    – Hamilton has been criticised for his move to Switzerland (curiously no mention has been made of Button’s move to Monaco)

    etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

    I am not surprised, but is still disgusts me. Should be interesting to see the partisan BBC coverage – can just see it now –

    Legard: can Button beat Lewis now, look at that smooth style against Lewis’ ragged style, let’s see if Button can get the better of Lewis.

    Maybe someone should tell the British media that not all British people are Button fans, and quite a few are Hamilton fans, and that Hamilton is also British or is he not British enough???

    1. Advice: Don’t read the British Media. They love putting people in the sky to see then falling later on. (and make a bit thing of it) LH and JB will be no exception I’m afraid.

  10. Now theres gonna be some nice fights.

    1. Lewis vs Jenson
    2. Anthony vs John Button
    3. Nicole vs Jessica MIchibata

    Love to see the 3rd one :))

    1. Ha, naughty.

  11. Button has won one world title ‘because of the car’. Why would he want to win a second like that?

    As he is regarded as being not even the best British driver in F1, let alone as the best driver full stop, it makes perfect sense as a *competitor* that he is taking on Hamilton at his own game.

    Name another top-line driver, let alone a reigning world champion, who has done anything like what Button has just done.

    Hats off to the man.

  12. I don’t think this is a good move for Button but I do wish him all the best.

    Frankly I’m really disappointed with Ross. He should have showed more loyalty to especially Button and perhaps even Barrichello. Ross will obviously have known that Mercedes were about to buy a majority share in the team and should have signed him to a more deserving and respectful salary. After all, what fee will Nico sign with I wonder?

    2009 has been quite a year for incredible disloyalty in such changing times. We’ve had Fisichella deserting Force India and now Ross deserting Jenson. Shame…

  13. I think it will be very close next season between the two of them. Remember that there is no more re-fuelling so drivers need to look after their tyres which Jenson does very well. Lewis is not so good at conserving tyres but has the edge on raw speed. Of course there are many other factors to add into the equation, but I predict Hamilton to win nearly every qualifying battle but for Jenson to finish ahead of (in some races)or very close to Lewis in a lot of the 2010 races. This could be McLaren’s first constructors title for a while. Should be a fascinating battle. Bring it on!!

  14. British Team, British drivers VS The Germans. Go Buttton and Hamilton.

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