Button is Still the Man for McLaren
So after weeks of keeping a respected former World Champion in the dark of whether he had a future with the team, Jenson Button will be racing for McLaren next season. At times over the past few weeks it’s been a bit like Louis Walsh dithering over which reasonably talented singer to save in The X-Factor.
Button scored more than twice the points of 2014 team mate Kevin Magnussen (126-55), who failed to build on his second place in the opening race in Australia. The Dane stays on as test driver and his day will come again that is for sure.
A relieved Button has signed a two-year contract which guarantees him his place in the team for next year and an option for 2016. The former World Champion said: “To be part of McLaren-Honda for more than one year is important. I am not just here to be around for one year. I am here to fight for world championships.”
McLaren therefore will have a strong team in the shape of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button but will they be able to be a match for Mercedes in 2015? Or is the prize of being part of the team a pair of binoculars so they can see Hamilton and Rosberg in the distance?
2015 sees McLaren beginning a new engine partnership with Honda. Whether they will be able to repeat the glory days when they dominated the sport between 1988 and 1991 winning the title every year is extremely doubtful, at least next year.
Even new recruit, Alonso, says: “I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.”
Button finished a mere 258 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the 2014 Drivers’ Championship. McLaren meanwhile were just 580 points behind Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship. Gaps like those don’t close without something significant happening.
So exactly why did McLaren chairman Ron Dennis take so long to make his decision? It appears he initially had some “causes of concern” about the British driver. This led to him discussing the situation with Button and giving him “some ideas on solutions.” To which Button replied: “’No problem’ Then it was very easy.”
Exactly what these concerns were aren’t known which isn’t exactly useful because all it will do is lead to speculation about what exactly was wrong. As for Button he’s not telling either and as far as he’s concerned the past is the past and “we move on from here.”
Still with what looks like the loss of Max Chilton to F1 it’s good to have another British driver in the line up’s for next year. Especially one who handles himself with such dignity and grace. Good luck Jenson!