McLaren sew up Button deal

Reigning world champion to form all-British line-up with Hamilton

Last updated: 18th November 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

McLaren sew up Button deal

Button: Multi-year deal with McLaren

I've followed the McLaren team ever since I was a small boy, and it feels unbelievable to finally be a part of it

Jenson Button
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McLaren have confirmed the signing of Jenson Button on a multi-year deal.

The reigning world champion has ended his association with Brawn GP to join up with fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton from next year.

Despite his individual success, as well as helping to secure the constructors' crown, Button's future at Brawn GP had been in doubt for some time.

The 29-year-old had failed to agree terms on a new contract, while the takeover of the team by Mercedes-Benz earlier this week only increased speculation that he would be moving on.

Difficult decision

"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," Button said in a statement from McLaren.

"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."

For the first time in F1 history, one team will feature the two most recent winners of the drivers' title, while two British champions have not been paired together since Graham Hill partnered Jim Clark at Lotus in 1968.

Combined knowledge

Button, who was given a guided tour of McLaren's factory in Woking last week, admitted he is excited about working alongside his compatriot.

"From a personal point of view, it's also a great pleasure to be joining a fellow British world champion," he added.

"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."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes McLaren now have the fastest pairing on the F1 grid.

Dedicated drivers

"Everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Jenson to our team," he said.

"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."

Whitmarsh also revealed that Button's decision to join the team was not made for financial reasons, adding: "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."

Comments (22)

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Nick Berry says...

Good news for Button. I feel a little let down by Brawn. Ross could have put his foot down on the plan to have 2 German drivers at Brawn. Dont think Mclaren will compete next year. Fancy it to be Brawn and Red Bull again. My money is on Vettel for the championship. But do not rule out a refreshed Alonso with Ferrari!! Think best Hamilton/Button can wish for is the odd win and podium. Dont think the car will be good enough to challege for the championship.

Posted 11:09 19th November 2009

Mark Adams says...

Mclaren (financially) have done the right thing. Lets look at money, because we can all relate to that. Paying £6m to a world champion who is British, to be brought together with the previous world champion in Lewis Hamilton is nothing short of genius. On a marketing scale alone that £6m will pale into significance when the merchandising wagon starts to roll. Did you look at the TV screens last season? All you seemed to see was the red of Ferrari... imagine that to be the silver of Mclaren and you have yourself a classic 'Beckham at Madrid' scenario... He made more money that he cost through shirt sales alone worldwide. Then add together the sponsorship deals Mclaren will covet with the media attention going ballistic over what is the most exciting lineup for years. Casual viewers will tune in again, the column inches will bulge and the entrance gates will swell. F1 will be global again. The American market may FINALLY wake up to the best motorsport on the planet (and not just a bunch of muppets going round in circles) and i'm sure that world peace will ensue! Its justa shame that Ross Brawn doesn't move to Mclaren too.... THAT would be the ultimate dream team lineup!

Posted 10:47 19th November 2009

Bally Singh says...

The fact that Jenson has switched to Mclaren for money tells you everything. I stick by what I said earlier. Holly Greaves and Lee Duggins, to answer your questions...yes I do watch F1...do you? How can you sit there and defend the Mclaren? For example, It was common knowledge the Ferrari was poor this year. They didn't score in the first 4 races and stopped developing their car at the start of July. Mclaren on the other hand had new updates in Brazil, yet only finsihed ONE point ahead when it was all said and done. Now tell me the Mclaren was a good car! Also, there is an agreement whereby Mclaren will buy back Mercedes' 40% share by 2011 hence the name staying on the cars. Mercedes have already dealt with Brawn and will be on the grid in 2010. There is no 2015 notice agreement between Mercedes and Mclaren. As for Jenson, he won 6 of the forst 7 races this year with an aero package nobody else had, and he scored 28 points out of 80 till the decider in Brazil which is POOR. He's won 7 races in 10 years and you call him good?? What a joke. Sorry but 2010 he will be exposed by Lewis. If you said 2 seasons ago Button will drive for Mclaren, you'd be laughed at!

Posted 00:04 19th November 2009

Chris Robbins says...

Good move Jenson, what a great move for McClaren with a very marketable team pairing. Sponsor's will be clambering to sign up and because money buys speed in this sport our Brits will do well. Its still going to be close next year with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes locked in battle! Can the brilliant Hamilton, probably the quicker driver counter the silky smooth Button with no refuelling? Role on March 2010

Posted 22:50 18th November 2009

Tom Cleary says...

What a fantastic year we have ahead of us! This is motor racing history in the making. An all British driver line up. I can't wait for Silverstone, the home support will even better than usual and I can't wait to see Lewis and Jenson fighting it out fof the World Championship. This is going to re-ignite passion for the best sport in the world!! Bring on March 2010...

Posted 15:52 18th November 2009

Keith Farrington says...

Well done Jenson Button.You had no option but to leave Brawn.Mercedes made it clear from the outset that they wanted two German drivers.Now we have got two British drivers at McLaren.Same engines.Lets look forward to what looks to be a very exciting season.Who will come out top the financial power of Mercedes or the engineering skill of the Brits at McLaren.No doubt and I would put a small wager on it that the Colours of Brawn/Mercedes will now change to silver like the old German teams.

Posted 15:39 18th November 2009

Simon Hughes says...

I think Jenson has made a huge mistake here Lewis will be there number 1 driver as he always has been, plus he has left a fantastic techinical mind in Ross Brawn. In my personaly opinion he wont win a thing as Lewis will get the best car out of the 2 and i doubt lewis will like having number 2 on his car and i doubt if Jenson is winning the title lewis will be willing to help out i feel another Alonso on the cards he will last 1 season and then leave to a car where yet again he wont be able to compete for anything

Posted 14:22 18th November 2009

Jem Procter says...

Don't be such muppets, Jenson a sell out, how long has he spent with that team don't forget it was Honda before that, he and the team I'm sure have worked tirelessly on creating a car that is going to be competative, Last year he wins the title and leaves the following season, he's no sellout this has the buy out being a problem written all over it, new owners i.e mercedes, perhaps they are not that bothered in keeping Jenson and want a total German line up, it wouldn't suprise me, its been no secret that mclaren have been after Jenson, so why not move? no better time to move if you ask me, moving to probably the best team in F1, best line up and all british sounds like a british drivers heaven to me, and a pay rise!!!!! give me one good reason he should stay. NO Sell out Dam good business sense, gives him the best chance of retaining the title.

Posted 14:13 18th November 2009

Russ Bull says...

Button always said he was a championship winning driver. He proved that this year with a quality car, the first decent one he's had. With Brawn's takeover, they now want a German pairing. Button has done the right thing. And if you were offered a £6 million a year contract, would you turn it down???

Posted 14:10 18th November 2009

James Austin says...

I wish people would give the guy a break! He's world champion for crying out loud and we should be proud of that. Yes he had a far superior car to start with, but there's always a quick team at some point of the season. Also, he stayed at Toyota for years and never even nearly competed, so I don't know how you can say he's not loyal!! So he wants to drive for what he thinks is going to be the best team next year, and that's a British team and British drivers, big deal! Ah, and there's the big pay cut he took at Brawn so he could drive too! I'm fed up with this country moaning at our sportsmen when they don't win, then when they do they have a go to!! Comon Jenson, Lewis and McLaren. Prove the doubters wrong!!

Posted 14:05 18th November 2009

David Allen says...

Why moan about him chasing the money?! It's his livelyhood you idiots. If the chairman of Halifax got offered a few £m pay rise to become the Chairman or Nationwide, he would do it wouldn't he?!! Everyone of you would want the extra £3-£5m a year!

Posted 13:56 18th November 2009

John Fryer says...

If I was a F1 driver, looking for F1 Championships, 2 things to look for: Team principal who knew what he was doing that being Ross Brawn with out doubt, with a major sponsor and engine supplier, thus being Mercedes Benz, that package alone would pull me in, why wont you drive in that situation..MONEY MONEY MONEY.... Jenson you have no chance in Lewis home, with out the double diffuser you would not of won the championship, and who designed that little toy ROSS BRAWN, what did Mclaren deliver, as Lewis said a bustbin, you silly silly boy... current world champion, yes future taxi driver in waiting no doubt.

Posted 13:54 18th November 2009

Bob Ellis says...

Who on earth is old Jenson trying to kid. All we have heard for the past 2 weeks is about how Jenson wanted a contract worth double the one he had. Who made him waht he is - Ross Brawn is the man and he must feel sick to the back teeth - within weeks of the end of the season his driver has walked off a signed for another team. Perhaps he knows how good he really is and needed to cash in quickly. Lets face it the only way he was going until Ross Brawn came along was backwards. Perhaps Brawn will be better off without Jenson - perhaps thats why they didnt offer him the contract he was after.

Posted 13:52 18th November 2009

Kevin Thompson says...

I think Jenson is a real sellout and will fail at Mclaren, he should show more loyalty to the team that has taken him from nobody to world champion..

Posted 13:52 18th November 2009

Lee Duggins says...

Bally Singh, you obviously dont watch much f1. Mclaren have a rubbish car??.. im sorry but who was the highest points taker in the second half of the season..?? Hamilton, and what car does he drive..? Mclaren, nobody came close to lewis in the 2nd half of the season, Brawns had the poor car, they only ever did well in high temperatures, im sorry but relyin on the weather for your car to perform well is hardly brilliant.

Posted 13:51 18th November 2009

Lee Toops says...

At last two great British drivers in a British-based team = victory

Posted 13:47 18th November 2009

John Fryer says...

Jenson, you did this once before with willaims and Honda, that was a massive mistake, as this is, You have left the best designer of a car and team Principal in Ross Brawn, who have just been back by Mercedes benz, Ross Brawn masterminded the Ferrari decade of dominance with MS, so this isnt about Titles, its about money, not only that you have jumped into Lewis Hamiltons back yard without any toys to share, this time next year you will be washed up with no where to go, such a shame you had such a chance with Ross and Nick Fry, but now no chance what so ever, enjoy No 1 on your car this coming year it will never happen again while you sit in the second seat at Mclaren. I wish you well but you jumped, nobody pushed you so dont cry wolf when you leave Mclaren just as Alonso did, because nobody will feel or have sympathy for you, as they did in Hondas slump. Good luck........!

Posted 13:42 18th November 2009

Roger Preece says...

Well done Jens! - Looking forward to seeing you next year in the new Dream Team with Lewis c- you could be the next Torville and Dean!!! And just remember its better to have loved and lost than never to have watched "Lost in Space" at all. Good luck... Regards... Roger the Dodger.

Posted 13:35 18th November 2009

Lee B says...

Absolutely great news i cannot wait for the new season to start. I have to be honest i believe that in the same car Hamilton will have the beating of Button but still great news for all F1 fans - British team, 2 British Drivers and the last 2 World Champions!!! Roll on next year.

Posted 13:31 18th November 2009

Bally Singh says...

Jenson, You're a sellout. Why don'y you just be honest and say the move has nothing to with "challenges" and it was about the money? I suppose the good thing that comes out of the whole thing is Lewis Hamiltion will expose you for the driver you really are, as everybody knows he's in a different class to you. If you think I'm wrong here, ask yourself, you have won a championship (albeit with a diffuser advantage), you have a championship winning car, the best technical director in Ross Brawn and yet you still leave for Mclaren, who have a terrible car, a team built around Lewis and now Mercedes have withrdawn technical expertise.....the answer is MONEY.

Posted 13:28 18th November 2009

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