McLaren confirm Alonso and Button as 2015 drivers

2015 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso’s return to McLaren for next year’s championship has been officially announced by the team.

Alonso split from McLaren after a single, acrimonious season in 2007. He is rejoining them in time for the return of engine supplier Honda in 2015.

McLaren also confirmed Jenson Button will remain at the team for a sixth season, despite recent speculation he would lose his seat.

The news means Kevin Magnussen has lost his place in the team’s race line-up after just one season. However McLaren said he will “remain an important part of the team, as test and reserve driver”.

Alonso said the discussion for him to return to McLaren began over a year ago. “Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest,” he said.

“But, more than a year ago, McLaren-Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula One scene for so long.”

Alonso added he is excited to be following the footsteps of Ayrton Senna, who won all three of his world championships in a McLaren-Honda.

“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference,” he said.

“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with.

“That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula One, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula One world championship.”

McLaren will therefore join Ferrari in having world champions in both their cars next year. “As regards drivers, McLaren’s policy has always been to assemble the strongest line-up possible,” said Ron Dennis, “and in Fernando and Jenson I firmly believe that is exactly what we have.”

“I can safely say that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula One team,” Dennis added.

Button, who drove with Honda power between 2003 and 2008, also acknowledged the heritage of McLaren-Honda as his continuation with the team was confirmed.

“I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but, for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy,” said Button.

“The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to grand prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since.”

All of the nine teams which are expected to compete in F1 next year have now announced their driver line-ups. It remains to be seen whether Caterham and Marussia, both of which have gone into administration, will appear in next year’s championship.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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156 comments on “McLaren confirm Alonso and Button as 2015 drivers”

  1. Good call. And there dies the hopes of people expecting a Ron’sRevenge :-P

    1. Kevin to be test, reserve and third driver at McHonda in 2015

      1. @eclairstone If Button does well in 2015, McLaren will probably retain Button for 2016 (he will 36) so Kevin faces the possibility to race only in 2017, unless he goes to a different team.

        Plus, in 2017 Vandoorne will be there to compete for the seat…

        McLaren 2017 can be:

        Alonso | Bottas
        Alonso | Magnuseen
        Alonso | Vandoorne

        1. If Alonso wins a 3rd championship, I have a feeling he could retire soon after. Magnussen | Vandoorne isn’t off the cards.

        2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
          11th December 2014, 14:42

          Its a 2-year deal for Button

          1. @peppermint-lemon
            Contracts in F1 mean very little, especially if Button fares similarly to Massa or Raikkonen against Alonso.

          2. @george after this season I don’t see why Button would do as bad as Kimi especially in a car that was as bad as the F14t and only podium worthy as many times as the F14t.

        3. They just announced for whats happening next year and you’re already speculating and concerned about 2016, 2017? seriously? who cares.

          1. I care. And I found those ideas interesting.

    2. There’s still time. Kevin’s in pole position for when it does happen… didn’t work out badly for Hakkinen or Alonso when they were test driver for a bit.

      1. But Vandoorne wasnt knocking on the door.

      2. Neither Hakkinen or Alonso had race seats at Mclaren/Renault the season before becoming test driver though. Hakkinen was at Lotus, and Alonso at Minardi. Going from these teams to a test driver role at a top team, in the days where test drivers actually got to drive the cars was clearly a step up. Can’t say the same for Magnussen given he has been demoted from the Mclaren race team itself. And if Vandoorne wins GP2 next season, he is surely next in line if Button (most likely) or Alonso leaves. I feel really sorry for Magnussen, his career in F1 could be over at the age of 22. But then I remember something Mark Webber said a few years ago “F1 is not a finishing school when it comes to racing” i.e. its either sink or swim. Harsh but true.

    3. Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer still!

    4. Yes, very happy with these news. I’m a big fan of Button and it’d have been a shame to see him out of the sport, especially in the way it was happening. I hope McLaren will have a much better car next year so we can see the best from Button and Alonso.
      Although I’m hoping for an even bigger improvement from Ferrari and Kimi so I can see my favourite driver at least fighting for podiums again:)

      1. Finally – Alo v But — it’s the match-up that should have happened at Renault (really, Trulli?)
        Jenson’s not going into the lion’s den, this time the lion comes to him… But should, in theory, being established at McLaren have the upper hand, esp in the first year, however the “Teflonso” factor (i.e. wanting assured #1 status) will be interesting. I hope it’s a relatively clean competition without the gamesmanship exhibited by Freddo (Fernando is faster than you) in past team-mate competitions. So what will it tell us if Alonso destroys Button like he did Raikkonen? Given a fair contest, I’d say that would cement him as the best driver of this era, hands down. If But shows 80% or greater of Alo’s point haul, then Jenson’s stock would have to be on the up and would reinforce my belief that there’s really a extremely narrow margin between the top 10 drivers in terms of talent. Alonso big scalps so far – Trulli, Massa, Kimi – (not all fair or 100% clear cut). Ham v Alo 2007 was a push IMO (87 HAM v 85 ALO) but Ham was only a rookie… Politics probably played some part, Alo’s desire might have gone off toward the end as well (after the relationship with the team broke down and he started looking at Renault again). Hopefully this will be one of the great intra team battles that ALO v RAI turned out not to be. :)

        1. Teflonso

          Haha, last time I heard that was a loooooong time ago :D

        2. Why 80%? Why not something higher

          1. Dunno, Alonso is supposed to be able to walk on water, so 80% seemed reasonable. I expect it will be close if there are no shenanigans…

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      11th December 2014, 16:44

      Just heard the news for the first time but I am absolutely delighted to hear that Button is remaining in F1. I feel sorry for K Mag (as I did with Perez before) but to be honest, keeping Button was the obvious call.

      Button and Alonso is an unbelievably strong driver lineup. Considering their pace, their different approaches to races, their experience and their knowledge, I think they are unmatched as a duo.

    6. Of course the real news is that Lewis Hamilton has re-signed for Mercedes, which of course triggered this event. It’s a cool line-up. It’s obvious that after 14 years Button is at his best especially since the pirelli arrived but one would say that looking at Jenson’s career, he doesn’t deserve the faith people put in him but as is with Steven Gerrard, Jenson’s fortune in this sport lies with the personification of the common man.

  2. I’d have sooner dropped Button.

    1. I’ve been a fan of Button since he entered F1, but I feel a bit flat about this. I feel very sorry for KMag first of all, and secondly, we’re just going to be in this situation again next year.
      And then there’s the very real possibility the McLaren car is awful next year. If I was JB I’d be on the phone to Claire Williams ASAP ready for next year.

      1. i feel empty. Rather See K-Mag drive

    2. It’s the best way to maximise points and thus payout. To do otherwise is a sure fire way to lose money. Driver’s salaries are very small compared to the loss in revenue coming a few places down the order… (Jenson justified any salary this year by ensuring McLaren came ahead of FI in the final race).

      1. Wrong.
        1. The difference in WCC money is very small.
        2. Button’s result in Abu Dhabi did not make any difference in the WCC standings

        1. With a DNF (or no points) FI would have pulled ahead…

          1. If button finished like Magnussen (out of the points) the total would have been 161 McLaren, 163 Force India.

            The difference between 5th and 6th in the 2014 WCC prize money is: $3 million, or approx £2 million with conversion… Button was reportedly paid £12 mill for 2014 and £6 mill for 2015 — Magnussen was on £500,000 so true it was not a purely financial decision… however the difference between 5th and a potential 4th or 3rd for 2014 :
            1. Fota WCC $ 90 M
            2. Fota WCC $ 72 M
            3. Fota WCC $ 80 M
            4. Fota WCC $ 65 M
            5. Fota WCC $ 62 M
            6. Fota WCC $ 59 M
            7. Fota WCC $ 53 M
            8. Fota WCC $ 50 M
            9. Fota WCC $ 47 M
            10. Fota WCC $ 40 M

          2. BTW: Button + Alonso points (or just two Button’s on the team) would have gotten 4th easily. Magnussen doubled would have only been a strong 6th. (so taking Magnussen vs a Hulkenberg or retaining Perez probably meant a net loss of £2 million for not getting 4th of Ferrari). Williams (3rd) was unattainable for McLaren this year.

  3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    11th December 2014, 10:34

    Good decision. Really hope this isn’t the end of K-Mag as I think he shows serious promise, but they have to go with the two best drivers available.

    1. This IS the end of Kevin’s F1 career. He is off to Japan now. And next year he’ll be forgotten.

      The next crop of talented young drivers will all come through Torro Rosso. It takes a few years to get used to the degrading tyres and fuel saving. TR is the only team that can afford to give young drivers enough time to learn it. The other teams will get their young drivers from TR or Red Bull when they have had a few years on grid.

      1. I don’t see any evidence of a single Torro Rosso driver going to any other team than Red Bull. Torro Rosso kills drivers careers.

        1. @danbrown180, Is it that easy to forget Seb Vettel and Ferarri ?

      2. You post is a bit self-contradictory — KM did a good job in his first outing, so a few years to get to grips is not necessarily true… KMag could be picked up by another team if there is no joy next year. The truth is there are a lot of capable drivers (even Max Chilton didn’t do too badly by historical standards) but only the top of the top get a crack at it. Nowadays, few get to dictate the terms of their exit, as well… (Schumi, Reubens).

      3. How many drivers have actually stayed on the grid after their Toro Rosso stint? 2?

        1. 4 actually:


      4. McLaren or Honda should do a Red Bull / Toro Rosso and buy Caterham and put Magnusson and Vandoorne in it.

  4. So that means McHonda and the fans can give a proper to send off to Jenson next year and Mag could take over in 2016.

    1. or maybe Stoffel will take over?

    2. Kevin is not coming back. And I doubt that McLaren will go through the pain of having a new rookie learn how to handle tyre degradation and fuel saving. Much easier to get proven drivers from other teams.

    3. Mark in Florida
      11th December 2014, 14:16

      Kevin’s F1 career is probably over apparently done in by Alonso’s desire to run things his way. Feel bad for Mags to me he was the future not Button. All of this talk of Ayrton Senna and the great McHonda days,talk about whipping up the faithful it’s a little overdone. McLaren hasn’t had a decent chassis in a while and it took Honda until Brawn took it over to win. So if anyone thinks this car and driver lineup is going to be a winner out of the box you have a lot of optimism. My concern for McLaren is the amount of control Alonso seems to be exercising over the team. A body can only have one head. If Dennis can’t run the show without Honda running interference for Alonso this will only end in misery for all concerned. Alonso is a great driver but great drama goes hand in hand with him. Too bad for Kevin I guess that he can drive in the sports car’s like his dad did.

  5. Really, really hope MP4-30 is a car that can fight for podiums and race wins, although I doubt it, Nothing is Impossible. Quite harsh on Magnussen, but that is sport, if you’re disappointing, you’re out

  6. End of Magnussen’s career.

    1. I hope they put him in GP2 with Vandoorne, with whoever comes out on top taking Buttons seat next year.

      1. Kevin is going to Japan.

      2. I don’t think they can, drivers who have completed a full season of F1 aren’t eligible to race in GP2. This is extremely bad news for Magnussen’s F1 career, he needs to hope Vandoorne doesn’t perform as well next year.

      3. Can’t. Drivers who have completed a full season of F1 can’t go back to GP2.

    2. Mclaren are taking the wrong lessons from Red Bull.

    3. The end of his carrer. when are People going to see that button and more drivers should drop for future talents. everyone was angry about paydrivers and not enough new blood. when a driver comes in on merit they just dont care. hope Mclaren fails hard next season

    4. It is sad, but unfortunately it is looking very dark for Kevin in regards to F1. The economical backing for Danish drivers is very poor because of low status of F1 in Denmark. To get at seat only on merit is very difficult and he may lose out to VanDorne, which I think have better backing. If I was Kevin I would not count on McLaren (I think nobody would any more after what happened in the last few month).

  7. Great, great news about Jenson, it made my day ! Go for it Champ !

    1. I’m glad for Jenson. To much unknowns about Honda PU though.

  8. The Blade Runner (@)
    11th December 2014, 10:39

    The right decision for reasons both on and off the track

  9. A decision I agree with. I am honestly not so impressed by K-mag. He is certainly not the next Ricciardo or Hamilton. And Honda need experienced drivers especially now that the Abu Dhabi test went quite bad.

    1. A bit harsh to call him disappointing — sure, he didn’t outperform Perez compared to Button, but Perez had several more years in F1. Hammy had much more track time before his rookie season began and Ricciardo wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire in a HRT or Torro Rosso — it wasn’t really until his first RBR test that he showed some real promise — and still the jury was out for the first few races in 2014.

    2. Ricciardo spent 2,5 season before he delivered any results so you have facts to the claim that Kevin is Ricciardo.

      1. Forgot two times no in above posting.

    3. open your eyes.. Per and Ric has more seasons, Ham more Mileage, Button 15 years…

  10. Best F1 related news for years.

  11. Good news to hear that Alonso will remain in F1 next year.
    That makes it 2x Renault, 2x McLaren. Wonder what will be next!?

    1. Alonso will bring back Minardi somehow so that he can drive for them a second time.

      1. Alonso to join Red Bull through the young driver program?

    1. @neelv27 Alonso is much shorter than I thought.

      1. @stretch Yeah well, he 171 cm. And according to your name, let’s hope you’re taller! lol!

      2. @stretch hehe! Even I was surprised looking at Fernando’s relative height :p

      3. @stretch @mashiat @neelv27 Ya, he definitely looks like a midget in this pic… ridiculous to think that MAS is even shorter.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      11th December 2014, 14:17

      @stretch @neelv27 They buy their suit at (insert brand here) ;P

  12. The right decision to retain Jenson, and few teams could ignore the availability of Alondo if they also had the means to afford him. What McLaren will need to do early in 2015 is genuinely demonstrate that they are thinking longer term on their journey to reclaim the constructor’s championship, as a repeat of the end of this season would be a failure to do so. Therefore if they do want to introduce another young talent that they believe in, have a proper succession plan in place with both current drivers and ensure that everyone knows were they are.

    A mischievous part of me would like to see Jenson trounce Fernando next year and see where that leaves them! But anyway, for now things are set for 2015 and, given by all the changes and speculation from 2014, McLaren could quite conceivably have two completely different drivers in place for 2016. Let’s look forward to a thrilling contest between two F1’s elder statesmen – an opportunity for Jenson to prove a few doubters wrong and the same opportunity for Alonso to cement a view that he’s right up there with the best. Let’s just hope that the duelling takes place near or at the front of the pack and not in the midfield.

  13. Spending one year as a test driver is not necessarily a bad thing for Magnussen. It worked for Alonso, Massa and Hulkenberg.

    1. @retardedf1sh I highly doubt he’ll be in the running for Button’s seat in 2015 once Vandoorne’s waltzed to the 2015 GP2 title. We have in essence lost Magnussen after one year, and although the Button vs Alonso fight will be fantastic in 2015, that leaves a rather sour taste after what was quite an respectable rookie campaign.

    2. When Alonso and Massa were test drivers, they were probably covering more miles than race drivers, and were testing all year long. Today, you’ll be happy if you cover one race distance every two months as a test driver.

      1. Alonso actually runned more kilometer than a full season while testing in 2003.

  14. Great news, I posted this on the ‘who should McLaren keep’ article, Ron clearly agreed with me ;)

    “I think that Alonso and Button in the race seats and Magnussen as test driver. One year as test driver on a team with those two will give Kevin a real chance to prove his worth and probably drive him to be a contender in 2016.
    I get that Jenson is the pricier option and lack of sponsorship for McLaren may mean it ends up being Alonso and Magnussen, but in terms of marketing, previous Honda relationship and overall F1 experience that will help progress the car then I still think Jenson and Fernando is a no-brainer.”

    I think they have made the right decision for the team, especially in a year that they will need experience above all else.

  15. Gordon Bennet!! I know this has been basically a certainty since time itselfed dawned but UNBELIVABLE!
    Quite incredible.

  16. Unpopular opinion, but a Button-Alonso line-up doesn’t make any sense to me. McLaren came fifth in the championship, and they have given up the best engine in the field for an engine that will most likely be worse than the Mercedes engine, i.e. it is not very likely they will have a championship challenging car next year.

    Alonso must have costed McLaren an enormous heap of money, and Button probably wasn’t cheap either. Why not spend the money they paid for Button on improving the car such that it will challenge for championships in 2016 or 2017? Seems like having the best driver line-up shouldn’t be a priority for McLaren at this point.

    But also from a sports perspective, I think it’s a shame McLaren chose Button over Magnussen. Button is probably nearing the end of his F1 career, probably considering a switch to WEC, so why not continue with Magnussen and let him gain some more experience? The route he’s taking right now is making him into another Oliver Turvey, which would be a real shame.

    Maybe from a marketing point of view, this line-up makes the most sense. A strong line-up will probably grab some headlines, and of course Button is both popular and commercial. Had McLaren announced Alonso-Magnussen, that would have been a publicity nightmare (just look at the way Button played with the crowd at the Autosport Awards last week..).

    1. @andae23 BBC actually reports that “Button will be on a one-year deal at a salary reduced by at least half from the reputed £12m he was earning in 2014.”

      There could be many reasons for McLaren’s decision. They obviously know more about Magnussen than we do and they might have doubts about his ultimate potential. In any case, it is very likely that Button will score more points for the team in 2015 than Magnussen would have.

      I personally am really looking forward to the battle between Alonso and Button. And Magnussen might get a race seat again in 2016 and be pretty successful like Hulkenberg was after his unwanted sabbatical in 2011.

      But I agree that it could go both ways and that there seems to be a lot of uncertainty at the moment. Right now McLaren are a midfield team that are trying to act as world champions. There are still no announcements of new (title) sponsors or investors and the team clearly faces an uphill struggle.

      To sum up, I am sitting on the fence and grabbing pop corn…

      1. @girts Fair points. Button’s salary going down probably also means he was more desperate for that seat than a year ago, but McLaren being the very last to announce their drivers didn’t help him either. I just think McLaren are overestimating themselves. But yeah, it will be very interesting to see whether Button can challenge Alonso like he challenged Hamilton for years.

        1. Hamilton has improved a lot since moving to Mercedes, particularly this year!

          1. Personally I’m happy for Button, and I hope if this is his last year he will be told that in due time in order to enjoy a proper end to his career or the opportunity to seek out another ride. Otherwise for next season I don’t see this as a battle…these drivers are going to need to work together to advance the project.

    2. Given Button’s salary cut, I don’t think he was that more expensive than Magnussen.

      If Button costs 5$ million more to hire than Magnussen, but he scores more points, McLaren can break even without too much trouble. The difference between finishing third and fourth in the constructors championship is about 7$ million.

  17. Tough for Magnussen, it would have been intriguing to see what he could have done in his second season. I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of him as I think he’s got great ability, he was just a little rough around the edges in 2014.

    Can’t say I can complain about seeing Button and Alonso in the same car though! Two world champions in the same team, I just hope that this time we get to see a bit of a battle after the Alonso-Raikkonen duel failed to materialise this season.

  18. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    11th December 2014, 11:01

    My second favourite driver of all time (Schumacher is my no1!!) has finally had it confirmed that McLaren wont ditch him in an unprofessional manner at last Ron Dennis has seen sense- I knew sense had to prevail eventually!

  19. So, that’s three Sennas in the field next year? Hamilton is just like Senna, Alonso wants to be like Senna, and Verstappen is the new Senna?

    1. Also lets not forget Schumacher was the new Senna and Vettel is the new Schumacher. So by transitive law, Vettel is the new Senna as well.

      1. @mrboems Isn’t Bruno Senna the next Senna? So Anthony Davidson must be Alain Prost then…

      2. pity that the only one who should have been eligible to the title of ‘new-Senna’; Bruno Senna, proved to be not as worthy as one would have expected.

        1. But damn, did he look good in black and gold

    2. Breaking some reincarnation law there :)

  20. In an ideal world, a team should take the two best drivers available to them. McLaren are fortunate enough to be able to do this, so Alonso-Button is almost certainly the right decision. Button’s performance in the last few races was unbelievable; Alonso-esque, even.

    I don’t think they’re going to be fighting for regular wins anytime soon, but there’s something about this whole setup I already like a whole lot more than during the Vodafone era.

    Bring on the livery!!

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      11th December 2014, 12:10

      In an ideal world I’d have all ten fingers on my left hand so that my right hand could just be a fist for punching.

  21. It’s all smiles now but if that Honda engine fails to overcome the McLaren chassis shortcomings, Alonso will throw his toys out the pram faster than Grosjean’s nipper. I’d love to know what get-out clauses he’s had written into his contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spaniard’s instructed Flabio to keep bending Mercedes’ ear about giving him a seat as it’s bound to go pear-shaped with Ron eventually. Looking forward to the sparks flying! Bet Alonso would have preferred K-Mag in the other car.

  22. Now just make great car and power unit.

  23. Oldest line up on the grid! Don’t know why they keep Button (I love him) as they already have an experienced driver in the name of Alonso. The brit media bashing over Ron and McLaren seems to have worked.

    Two young drivers rejected in two years, what a bad management.

    I’m reaaly angry about my long-time loved team.

    1. It’s their 5 year plan :-)

  24. Button deserves that seat, but do Mclaren deserve Button? Not after the last few months.

    1. I don’t think Mclaren deserves either of these drivers at the moment.

  25. Very glad about this. It was the only sensible decision based on last seasons performance and the change in engines. I’m excited to see how Jenson compares to Fernando next year. I’m not sure there’s going to be much between them in qualifying as U don’t believe either of them are single lap specialists. Having said that, as Fernando is acknowledged as the yardstick in F1 (he is relentless on race day) Jenson very rarely goes backwards from his grid position either. I’d be very interested to see (perhaps this may be something Keith can help with?) is the percentage of races throughout their F1 careers where Jenson and Fernando have finished lower than their starting grid position. I would expect this to be quote low in comparison to most other drivers. Maybe check this against some other current and past drivers/champions.

    1. Apologies for the autocorrects there!

  26. As a McLaren fan I could not be more happy at this decision! And should be more interesting than Fernando and Kimi right?

  27. So thats the end. Lol funny to see how he make the pic near Ron Dennis when he didnt speak to him in 8 years (including the year in McLaren). So money buys everything, even partnerships. Will he be Nigel Mansell 2? We will see… He has more or less same style and same moustache as eyebrows.

  28. Some of this press release from McLaren is patent nonsense, or in direct contradiction of facts.

    Rosberg and Hamilton are easily a match for Button/Alonso, if anything Rosberg is more likely to challenge for podiums than Jenson. There’s less to choose from between Lewis and Alonso but overall I don’t think Mercedes will rue their lineup.

    Secondly, if this partnership is “orders of magnitude” better than any other available one, why did it take “orders of magnitude” longer than it should have to decide? Clearly something was going on behind the scenes, either boardroom drama around Ron’s position, or Alonso was the one who wasn’t fully signed up until the last minute. Alternatively McLaren won’t admit that they’re no longer a first choice for the great drivers on the grid.

    Lastly, as Kimi/Alonso proved this year, 2 great drivers in a dog of a car means 2 frustrated drivers and no results.

    Honda better get their act together.

    1. Kimi and Vettel have “orders of magnitude” more world titles between them as well. Well, two.

  29. Best possible solution to McLaren’s dilemma. Young Kevin will be best placed when they sort out the car for 2016. This was what I thought should happen all along. It will be interesting to see how the two champions measure up. Jenson will be able to compare his new team mate with Lewis, although I think Lewis has grown even more during this season and now I think he has surpassed even Alonso. Who ever you support Lewis and Fernando are the two best on the grid, and they both know it!

  30. I really do hope JB gives FA at great challenge and finally put to bed this myth that FA is the best driver lets wait and see :)

    1. I am amazed of the magnitude of ignorance…
      So, that past 10 or so years when ALO has cleaned the floor with his team mates/opponents, no matter if world champions or not, has not convinced you, but if now BUT somehow manages to get more points than ALO for one year will make the difference?
      Some people are so in love with their personal views and opinions that they will rather put their head in the sand, or close their eyes and ears indefinetely rather than admit they were w r o n g e.

  31. I believe McLaren did not want to upset the home fans after all, in current economic situation. Button is much more marketable talent than Kevin. Although I don’t see the benefit of this for long time. McLaren isn’t exactly going to win anything next year (I could be wrong).
    I used to be Button fan few years ago, but in last two years I have been let down by what I have seen. Button turned out like Vettellish (If that is a word). Nonetheless best of luck and I hope McLaren gets atleast one podium next year.

  32. Sensible choice. It’s a bit sad that Magnussen is without a seat for next year, but, honestly, if I had to decide between him and Button I’d choose Jenson.
    Looking forward to Alonso vs Button next year.

  33. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    11th December 2014, 12:04

    Excellent news for the fans. My guess is that Jenson might actually beat Fernando, who ought to take a season to get settled in. I can’t wait :-)

  34. In a sense we are in a rare period of history where the last 12 titles have been won by 2 teams neither of which were McLaren or Ferrari. The last time this happened was the mid 1990s where Williams and Benetton were winning. This time however, there is no sign of a resurgence from the Big Two. So, for me, there must be a huge signal of intent from each team if there are to be changes at the top. Newey was recruited years before Red Bull won anything and Mercedes employed just about everybody on the way to the top. Ferrari now have James Allison and Vettel, McLaren have Prodromeu and Alonso. Lets hope this leads to progress from both.

    A couple of months ago I wrote a comment outlining my belief that McLaren is far from the ideal place for Alonso to go but ultimately the move came through necessity. Honda coming aboard is a huge step; you simply can not compete with a factory team. McLaren made it pretty clear to Mercedes that the partnership had reached its natural conclusion and if Mercedes weren’t holding performance and/or data back from McLaren I would be very surprised. Therefore I am hopeful McLaren can at least return to their usual bridesmaid slot some time soon. This driver affair hasn’t been well handled but the decision’s the right one. Button still has plenty to give, will develop the car and crucially has a good relationship with Honda.

    Signing Alonso surely means a title sponsor is around the corner too. Button is infinitely marketable and with Alonso surely someone is willing to put their money in. Although its my belief that this is the F1 managements fault as no team is well sponsored at the minute.

    I think the general consensus about McLaren is that they lost a bit of ambition under Whitmarsh. They tried to become a ‘nice’ team which is like putting a santa hat on an angry rockweiler. Team that to numerous pit blunders and tactical errors, losing their best driver to a top rival and then producing 2 duds and things had to change. With Alonso and Button all that can be said is that the maximum performance will have been extracted in 2015, but for me that won’t be enough to stop Mercedes.

    1. In a sense we are in a rare period of history where the last 12 titles have been won by 2 teams neither of which were McLaren or Ferrari
      From 2014 the 12 titles go back to 2003.

      Ferrarri won 2003, 2004 and 2007.

      Although I agree with the general point that Ferrarri and McLaren being so uncompetitive is quite rare

      1. @tonybananas I was meaning 12 titles ie 6 years. McLaren have only had 1 title (a drivers at that), 2 if you count 2007, in the 21st century. Although you understood my point!

    2. “Team that to numerous pit blunders and tactical errors, losing their best driver to a top rival and then producing 2 duds and things had to change.”

      I think you are being rather selective with what you (choose to) remember and over simplifying matters. “their best driver” had been in the team for seven long years without being able to shine or achieve anything meaningful. His best “achievment” during that long period, during which Mclaren gave him several very strong packages, was beating poor MAS with a single point, in a rather lucky way too.
      “their best driver” was also during that period beaten by BUT, who has to be considered average given history, and consistently beaten over several seasons by other top drivers driving slower packages in other teams…
      The departure of the very overrated HAM was probably the best that has happened Mclaren and the future will prove it even more, if you choose not to consider the past.

      1. I’m sorry but I have to disagree with you on this quattro. Hamilton may not have had the greatest title season in 2008 but 2009 he did a very good job with a difficult car. Vettel has shown this year how hard it is to get your head around not having a car capable of defending the title. 2010 the wheels fell off in the last 6 races due to Hamilton’s errors but McLaren were not faultless either. In Australia he was ahead of Button when Button changed strategy but Hamilton didn’t follow suit, in Malaysia he was knocked out in q1 because he didn’t set a banker before the rain came. In Spain he had a wheel failure on the last lap running second, in Hungary he retired from fourth with a gearbox problem and in Japan he lost third gear. Considering Hamilton lost the title by 16 points I’d say that McLaren and Hamilton were equally culpable.

        2011 he was poor certainly and as a result Button is flattered by Hamilton’s crashes. 2012 Hamilton had a near perfect season. He lost that championship solely down to McLaren either struggling in the pits (Malaysia, Valencia, China, Bahrain), under fuelling him in qualifying (Spain) or the car breaking down (Singapore, Korea (roll bar), Abu Dhabi). The other retirements weren’t driving errors either, in Germany he had a puncture and in Belgium he was hit by Grosjean. Given McLaren began the year with the best car, it does seem that they let themselves down operationally.

        So I can’t really see how it was Hamilton that was letting the team down as you imply. Even if you can’t see it, the F1 world recognises Hamilton as one of the best out there and therefore it reflects poorly on McLaren that they were unable to keep him, much less allow him to go to a championship rival.

      2. “consistently beaten over several seasons by other top drivers driving slower packages in other teams”

        When did that happen? Names and teams?

        1. An example:

          ALO in a FIAT vs HAM in a Mclaren. See below for more details on what those two drivers scored in four consecutive years (~70 or so races).
          Take in account the relative package strength by looking at the constructor points as well, for the drivers considered.

  35. It’s funny how Alonso speaks up for Senna and Button speaks up for Prost.

    Now all of Alonso’s latest tweets can be seen in a different, perhaps a lot more understandable, light. I guess he will be hell bent to show us the almost otherworldly excellent 2012 version of himself in 2015 again. Button has his chance, but he will be up against the toughest team-mate he can ever get.

    Their battle, with the finess bred and supported by their vast experience, will be a tantalising one whether it will be for 5th and 6th place or 1st and 2nd. Considering Button’s and Raikkonen’s current form and my personal preference of Alonso over Vettel, in my eyes, McLaren indeed got the edge over Ferrari with an even greater line-up.

  36. McLaren has horrible approach to Young drivers and rookies. Kevin has had a better rookie season than the rookie seasons of Alonso, Schumacher, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Bottas and Button.
    Why keep him in the Dark and ruin his chances of another seat in another team if there is no tolerance at McLaren for a learning curve. If Button had been treated the same after his rookie season he would never had lasting all those seasons he required to get his first podium.

    1. Sorry I forgot Massa – poor results in rookie season.

      1. @lars Some might think the decision to drop Magnussen was harsh. The problem is that after Hamilton, our expectations regarding rookies has never been the same.

        1. But Hamilton was prepared like no one else had been up to that year, and nor anyone will be in the future to come. He covered lots of miles in private test sessions, and was parachuted into a team which had a car capable of fighting for wins and ultimately the championship. I’m not saying that he didn’t/doesn’t have the speed, which he clearly does, but with the aforementioned points he practically skipped the phase almost all those other guys went through, namely getting into the sport via a lower field team and showing their potential in slower cars.

  37. I became a big Jenson Button fan when he trounced overpaid BAR teammate Jacques Villeneuve in the races.When he went to previously unlovable McLaren and Ron Dennis “disappeared” simultaneously I gave the team a chance and it was really good…no pompous pronouncements from Ron and Button showed well against Lewis Hamilton.
    But the last two seasons have seen the team regress, all the while with Ron and lately Eric Boullier telling us how good the team will be.
    Mclaren team bosses please do one thing for me-stop talking!

  38. Great news for Vandoorne. If he wins next years’ GP2 championship, he’ll be first in line when Button retires.

  39. Clearly not a solution for the future, gathering the two oldest drivers in the same team ! McLaren are gambling on instant Honda success – no room for a development year – with two world champions they’ve got to perform from 1st race !

    1. They might just sack Button next year and replace him with Vandoorne. They just needed a bit of continuity with the feed-back of their drivers with the switch to Honda engines.

      1. I think you two should get a room..

    2. “McLaren are gambling on instant Honda success”
      Quite the oppsite actually. If you believe you will instantly develop a dominant/extremely competitive package, you do not need experience/exceptional drivers. Probably half the field could do the job in such a car. Just look at what VET did in the dominant redbull, or why not the clean swip that ROS and HAM managed with the uber dominant Merc of 2014.
      With signing two experienced drivers, one of those being acknowledge the best of his generation, signals that they are counting on the drivers input for, bit for bit, building for the future. And remember, Prost & Hill were racing when close to forty years old…

    3. I disagree as well. I think from McLaren’s point of view it make perfect sense to have two drivers who are have experience and are good at developing a car. I am not sure how far they will get next year but it makes more sense than having a fairly inexperienced driver who quite often went backwards on race day.

  40. Past hoped partnerships are working out
    1. Alo and But back in renault now they are at Mclaren
    2. Vet and Rai back in RBR now they are at Ferrari

    1. ?

      2. Vet and Rai back in RBR now they are at Ferrari

      Since when was Kimi at RBR?!

      1. I think he means people wished Vet and Rai were at RBR but they werent, as was the case with Alo and But who were not team-mates at Renault but some people wished they were

      2. @zippyone
        As @tonybananas said and i stated on top , this pair is what people wished back

  41. Some people seem disappointed by the demotion of Magnussen (which I can fully understand), but did you feel the same about Perez? Perez scored 67% of Button’s points tally in 2013, Magnussen 47% (using regular points for ABD) of Button’s in 2014. OK, Perez had two years’ experience prior to 2013, but I think it was harsher to drop him than demote Magnussen.

    Magnussen simply didn’t meet the hype that surrounded him late last year when he got Perez’s seat. If Perez wasn’t good enough, nor was Magnussen. Two extremely harsh decisions to drop Perez and Magnussen after one season each at the ages of 23 and 22 respectively, but this is F1. Vandoorne will be in pole position for Button’s seat now.

    1. Apparantly you know very little about F1 rookie Performance the last decades – one question for you, in what season did Button get his first podium?

    2. In fairness, it was Ron Dennis himself that hailed KMag as “the second coming.” I’m not sure anyone else raved about him that much. Being billed as “the new Hamilton” probably sunk Kevin’s career as surely as anything else. He was never going to be able to live up to that expectation especially in a new engine formula year.

      1. Yeah, that’s true, Dennis did pile some extra pressure on him with his comments. That wasn’t Magnussen’s fault. I still found his rookie season somewhat disappointing though.

    3. You can’t really compare Magnussen & Perez because Perez had 2 year’s F1 experience with the Pirelli tyres.

      We keep hearing not just in F1 but also GP2 about how difficult it is for a rookie to figure out the very unique characteristics on the Pirelli tyres.
      Your coming into F1/GP2 from categories where you can lean on the tyres throughout a race & where wear/degredation isn’t a big issue & your then having to try & understand how the Pirelli’s work & how best to manage them etc…

      I think this year Magnussen showed a ton of potential, He wasn’t miles off Jenson’s pace, He was faster a dozen times but showed the sort of inconsistency which I’d expect a rookie to show, Most of that inconsistency I feel is something that would have been ironed out given a 2nd season (Just look at what a 2nd season did for Grosjean).

  42. this could be a hell of a good bye yr for Button, Alo wipe the floor with Kimi, Massa that can do podiums in good cars !

    Ron Denis did as good as Mag this yr, guess the board want him to move over a bit more in the races.

    1. Ferrari look to have a better car. McHonda will be lucky if they can achieve 5th in constructors behind Merc ,Williams Ferrari and RBR in no particular order.No harm in fantasizing.

  43. i find it interesting that button doesn’t have higher standards than this. he’s been waiting for a contract and as a world champion i would be livid if my team couldn’t decide between a world champion which outperformed the rookie he’s now up against. i’ve always thought button was someone who wouldn’t let himself get treated like this.

    as for the decision, from my point of view it’s the wrong one. button and alonso hardly have 3-4 years left in them, so for the short term they’ll have a good team but once they’ve both left, McLaren will be regretting this decision. magnussen did good, good enough to be kept for another year. such a shame that his team let him down like this.

    1. @rigi I have heard that it was Button’s negotiations which stalled the decision making process (presumably about money), which puts an entirely different light on the whole mess. I am thinking that JB was the main board’s and possibly Honda’s preference and given that RD had no choice but to sign him, went head to head with a Jenson that knew his value and played hard ball. I know that’s an alternative view but it works for me..

  44. On the topic of whether it was a good decision to keep Button and not Magnussen, I think that Button could easily downplay his greatest weakness – age – with arguing that as long as he keeps up the level he showed in and up to 2014, age simply doesn’t matter. It very well might be that his twilight in F1 is around the corner in terms of an inability to keep up his current performance level, but as long as he’s in peak form, he should be kept as he is great. And if McLaren would’ve released him now, they would have been left wondering if they had missed out on an opportunity of seeing another one or two top class season from Button.

    1. Yes and Button is not Nigel Mansell is he. He is ultra-fit. One of the fittest drivers there is with all his triathlons. There is no sign of him losing pace either.

  45. Good stuff. I never get the logic of ‘it’s the younger guys turn now’ – younger guys have all the time in the world. This will be a very interesting rivalry. Now if only we can have a closer battle between the teams next year. How great would it be to see all these guys dishing it out for wins…

    1. So let’s bring back Webber then. Ricciardo “have all the time in the world”.

  46. I can’t help but think that McLaren have made a mistake by sticking with Button & that they have pretty much guaranteed themselfs to be in the same situation again in a year’s time but with Stoffel Vandoorne thrown into the mix as well.

    Kevin did a solid job this year & having a 2nd season to build on & improve on the pace he had shown through 2014 would have put him in a far better situation & given the team a far better idea on how much potential he has for the long term.
    By keeping him out of a race seat for a year & with so little other running to be done now outside of racing I just can’t help but think they have put his career back a year or more as now the building on this year & continuing to improve will now be done 1 or more years down the line & should they decide to put him back in in 2016/2017 he’s going to need time to shake off the rust.

    The additional issue in a year’s time will be Stoffel Vandoorne, He’s been highly impressive in GP2 this year & should he stay there & win the GP2 championship in 2015 what are they going to do with him?

    There going to face a situation where they have Button who’s career is winding down, Magnussen who they sat out for a year & as I say will need time to shake off the rust & Vandoorne who will be coming off GP2 with tons of momentum.

    Honestly as much as I like Jenson, I’d have gone with Magnussen for 2015 to see how much a year has improved him & to see how he builds on that year to get a better idea on how he’s going to progress down the line which would also help to know which direction is the best to go beyond 2015 in terms of Stoffel Vandoorne.

  47. Magnussen needs to be racing against the best to fine-tune his race craft.

    Sitting on the sidelines will do him no good whatsoever.

  48. Who cares about KMAG? He is just an average driver. This is about McLaren winning again.

    1. I do feel a little sorry for Magnussen. If McLaren had made their decision sooner then they might have been able to get him into another team like they supposedly helped with Perez last year.I think he could survive being out for one year but not two. Anyway I expect there will be places next year. I cannot see Raikonnen surviving another year and who knows about Massa’s future?

    2. McLaren is not going to win anything in 2015, and maybe even not in 2016. Then it’s for sure time to retire Button and maybe Alonso, too. Then they will need 2017 and 2018 to get new drivers up to speed. McLaren is doomed.

  49. I hope Fernando keeps his red helmet colours for 2015 and beyond. I never really liked his black and silver helmet from 2007, though it was modeled on the helmet colours he wore when he was a young karter.

  50. At last!
    I’m very glad for Jenson.
    Second most sane decision for 2015 after Kvyat’s promotion to RB!
    Forza Jenson!

  51. So, Vandoorne finished runner up in his first season in GP2, and his reward is that now he’s lost his place in the F1 team.

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