Button has moved for the $$$! No surprises there!
McLaren will boast an all British Champion line-up next season after Jenson Button’s move from Brawn was confirmed today.
As we already knew, this leaves Kimi Raikkonen off to sabbatical land, but the prospects of Lewis’ whipping boy, Heikki Kovalainen, have not been confirmed.
With the latest two title holders racing in the same colours in 2010, the Woking team will house two Champions for the first time since Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1989.
And we all know how that one ended up!
With Button having accepted a significant pay cut ahead of this season and then desiring a substantial pay rise for next season, his crown-clinching Brawn team – now Mercedes Grand Prix – refused this. His demands were eventually met by McLaren, which continues to be a customer of the German engine manufacturer for at least another six seasons.
Although the length of the contract is unspecified at this stage, the Button-McLaren contract has been confirmed as a ‘multi-year deal’ as a team signs to the two most recent Champion for the first time in F1 history.
McLaren is the sixth team Button will have driven for as he approaches his eleventh season in F1, with the BAR-Honda-Brawn stint from 2004-9 being his longest stint as the team changed ownership several times.
Having had a chequered history of contract negotiations (remember his BAR and Williams reneging?), this hardly smacks of a driver being loyal to the team that essentially rescued his career from the shit hole, and his press statement is quite the load of crap, if ever I’ve read one:
"It’s always a difficult decision to leave a team when you’ve been there for so long," Button commented. "But life is all about
money challenges – and, most important of all, it’s about earning even more money 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 earn even more money set myself fresh challenges."
With Hamilton’s second half of the 2009 season being particularly supreme once McLaren worked out the problems with its car, and Button’s dramatic drop-off in form as the Brawn’s gradually fell back (he didn’t take a single win or pole from Turkey onwards!), I think Button is in for one hell of a challenge next year!
Good luck, Jenson, I hope Lewis kicks your arse next year, and the Mercedes GP car is just as good as this year’s one.