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Weighing up Button's McLaren move

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Andrew Benson | 13:15 UK time, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Jenson Button's decision to sign for McLaren means he will head into his world title defence facing the toughest challenge of his career.

Button joins Lewis Hamilton in an all-English line-up that will have those watching F1 salivating. Some will be attracted by two such appealing figures in the same team - not to mention the glamour that will be provided by their respective girlfriends. Others will be fascinated to see how the two drivers match up on the track.

And that is where the risks for the McLaren new boy are immense, even though Button has seven years' more experience than his new partner.

As I explored in my blog on Monday, Hamilton is considered by many observers to be the fastest driver in F1. Button may be the reigning world champion, but he has not yet proved to be quite in the same league as Hamilton, or the new Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.

The issue is not Button's pure pace when everything is to his satisfaction. At times like that, there are few, if any, faster than him, as he proved with his glorious run to six victories in the first seven races of 2009, the foundation of his title campaign.

The problem Button will face is that, as one former F1 driver put it on Wednesday: "He needs a perfect car - that's been obvious throughout his career."

When he is not happy with his car, Button can struggle - and Hamilton provides a sterner challenge than any of his team-mates so far.

Complicating the issue at McLaren next year will be that Hamilton and Button like very different things from their racing cars.

jensonlewiskimi595.jpgThe fates of Button, Hamilton and Raikkonen have become inextricably entwined

Hamilton likes a rear end that moves around a lot - he uses the rapid change of direction that provides to pitch him quickly into the corner and get him pointing in the right direction for the exit as soon as possible.

It is an unusual style, for the simple reason that it makes the car unstable - but Hamilton does not worry about that, he simply corrects the slide he knows is coming and carries on.

Button's style is completely different. He likes a stable rear end, using subtly changing pressure on throttle, brake and steering to alter the car's direction. Give him a loose rear end, and he struggles.

Can McLaren provide two cars set up in such different ways? Even if they can, will they want to, given the two varying development paths to which each approach may lead?

These concerns might sound esoteric to the average sports fan, but they are absolutely critical to an F1 driver's performance on the track. And that is why so many observers worry for Button at McLaren.

Button himself is obviously not concerned - he surely would not have signed up if he was. Underneath that laid-back exterior is a highly competitive man who clearly thinks himself more than capable of handling whatever Hamilton can throw at him. Only time will tell if he is right.

Just as fascinating is how the world champion has ended up leaving the team with whom he won the title.

This situation carries echoes of 1996, when Damon Hill lost his Williams drive despite becoming world champion.

Hill was only left with scraps after Williams told him late in the day that he would not be keeping him, and he ended up 'defending' his crown in an Arrows-Yamaha. Predictably, it did not go well.

Button, by contrast, has been the master of his own destiny, and he appears to have plumped for what he believes will be the most competitive car - a decision presumably based on McLaren's strong end to the season and Brawn's dip in competitiveness, as well as, he revealed on Wednesday, his new team's historic position as one of F1's few consistent success stories.

A bigger question hangs over how Button's former team have managed to let the man who won them their first world title slip through their fingers.

That is a complicated question, the answer to which at least partially lies in Mercedes's takeover of Brawn, which was announced on Monday.

There are lots of conflicting rumours doing the rounds. The most common one is that Brawn/Mercedes did not offer Button the salary he wanted, and that he preferred both McLaren's offer, and what he perceived to be a likely more competitive car.

But some media outlets have quoted "Brawn sources" saying they were offering Button £10m, which is almost certainly at least as much as he will get from McLaren.

Equally, there are rumours that Mercedes, the new owner of Brawn, was not that bothered whether Button stayed or not - and that, to keep the unions and anti-F1 members of the company's board happy, they were not prepared to offer him big money.

This is in the context of Mercedes's decision to end their part-ownership of a perfectly good F1 team to take a bigger share of another.

As ever, F1 is a tangled world - and that extends to another piece of news that broke on Wednesday.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, will not be racing in F1 next year having failed to reach an agreement with McLaren.

The fact that the Finn could not finalise a deal with a team that made moves to sign him as long ago as August is at least partly down to the fact that Raikkonen wanted more money than McLaren were prepared to pay.

Raikkonen is being paid millions of pounds not to drive for Ferrari next year after the Italian team decided they preferred to have Alonso.

Yet it seems Raikkonen was determined to be paid what he and his management team deemed a wage reflective of his status as a former world champion - and the deal fell down because, while McLaren were offering the Finn a very substantial salary, it was not what Raikkonen had in mind.

As Raikkonen's manager David Robertson put it to me this morning: "It wasn't in his interests to race for the sum they were offering."

For now, Raikkonen and Robertson are viewing it as a year away from F1 to have some fun in the world rally championship. But, unless Raikkonen shifts his expectations, it may well turn out to be a rather more permanent arrangement than that.

F1 might not miss Raikkonen's android-on-Mogadon news conferences, but the man behind the wheel is another matter.

When he is in the mood, Raikkonen is one of the very finest drivers in F1 - arguably, with Hamilton and Alonso, one of only three who can win a race in a car that does not deserve to.

For a driver of that calibre to slip out of F1 in such an unsatisfactory manner is sad indeed. Hubris can be a dangerous thing.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Purely from a team championship point of view Maclaren have the strongest line up. Not just because they have the last two champions but because they ahve two drivers with contrasting styles. Button being probably the smoothest driver on the grid (I remember way beack when he started commentators pointed out how gentle he is with the car) and Hamilton being an out and out racer trying to get everything out the car on every corner.
    There are track where each style falls down but the other will be strong on those tracks, maclaren are probably the best team at developing throughout the year so I'd put money on one of them winning the championship next year. Everyone thinks it'll be Hamilton who comes out best, but people have been underestimating Button for years, put him in a championship winning car and you've see what happens. With the confidence he now has I think Button will be even better next year.

    The problem is that Farrari stopped development on last years car about half way through the season and focused on next year. We saw what that does last year when Honda took the same strategy before pulling out and becoming Brawn who smashed the competition in the first half of the season. If Ferrari come out with a car like that, coupled with a manufacturers level of development and it could be a complete walkover for Alonso and Massa.

  • Comment number 2.

    Very sad to hear that Kimi will be leaving. I heard that he will earn more money by not racing in F1 than actually taking up on Mclaren's offer. He has always been interested in Rallying so now he can quench his curiosity and if a position opens up in F1, he will certainly be linked.

    Hope to see him in WRC. I will be following with interest and hope he does well.

  • Comment number 3.

    You've got to take your hat off to Mclaren for tenacity and pure self belief. You would have thought they would have learnt their lesson almost 20 years ago with the Prost & Senna debacle, and more recently Alonso and Hamilton. Maybe this time round, with their respective fathers in close proximity in the paddock, ego's will be restrained and the common language of English will be understood by all. I hope the relationship lasts (until at least Monaco, as this is where the relationships always seem to fray), and we have a wonderful spectacle. Who's my money on to succeed? Sorry Jenson...

  • Comment number 4.

    Jenson's history in difficult cars is not good. He can't wrestle a difficult car to win a race like Lewis. Mclarens are designed to be difficult to drive (built-in oversteer) to suit Lewis. Will they initiate a separate development strategy to suit JB? Don't think so.

    I hope it won't turn out to be if JB can drive the car, great. If not, we both tried, thanks but adiós!

    Bet they keep Kimi's number on speed dial.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh I can foresee the British media coverage already. It is already shaping up.

    Lewis will be the baddy, favoured in the team, too competitive(?), has the car designed around him (complete rubbish), evil daddy in the garage, blah blah blah.

    Jenson will be the goody, given unequal equipment and opportunities, car not designed to suit his "smooth" style, lovely chap of a father snubbed by Daddy Hamilton.

    You just wait.

    Poor Lewis - he has another year of mauling by the British media to look forward to just because he is so good at what he does and doesn't fit the stereotype that a lot of Brits think should be good in F1. Another year when he'll need strength of character - what a nonsensical decision to hire Button.

    Not a dream team, more a nightmare team.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think Hamilton will be everyone's favourite to come out on top in McLaren, but if the car suits Button it could go his way. Either way it will be great to have two English drivers with a genuine chance next year, assuming the McLaren is competitive which is looking likely.
    On the subject of Raikonnen, I can't believe how greedy he is being. He mentions that he will only race in a competitive team on one hand and how he doesn't want to drive for a mid table team 'just for the money' yet rejects McLaren who are likely to be competitive as they won't pay him enough, even though he will be picking up 20 million euros or so from Ferrari for doing nothing!
    If he really wanted to race he would have signed for McLaren, assuming the reports that they wanted him are true, but as a McLaren fan I am glad he didn't as he was completely out driven by Massa in 2008 and probably would have been this year if it wasn't for Massas accident.
    I personally don't regard him as a genuine racer in the mould of say Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel as unlike those three (and many others) and to quote Andrew Benson's article, he has to be 'in the mood'. My view is that there are plenty of upcoming drivers who will be 'in the mood' more regularly who deserve their chance to succeed, not just when they can be bothered, and if Raikonnens break turns out to be more permanent then I'm afraid he won't be missed.

  • Comment number 7.

    A brave move by Jenson for sure and a mouth watering prospect for British fans with an epic Button V Hamilton battle of the Brits.

    Going against the masses, I think Button might just edge Hamilton in the end. Although McLaren is Lewis’s team look what Button did when he first joined BAR and beat Villeneuve on his home turf. If Jenson can get the car set up in a way that suits him, Lewis can count on a fair bit more pressure than he ever had from Kovy.

    Also, as current world champion, does that mean Button would become McLaren’s lead driver next season?

  • Comment number 8.

    I echo nr 2's comment regarding Kimi however i cannot wait for next season with the Maclaren dream team - British team, british cars and british drivers (the last 2 world champions to boot aswell!!!)

    I have to be honest and say i believe that Hamilton will have the beating of Button in the same car but it will be great cheering them both on as they battle it out (along with Alonso and Massa in the updated Ferrari!!!)

    It promises to be a belting season.

    Roll on next year.

  • Comment number 9.


    I doubt it. Your opinion is based on an unfounded paranoia motivated by what, I don't pretend to know.

    As for the media, they'll support whoever wins and get on the back of whoever loses. It's in their nature.

  • Comment number 10.

    OK, Kimi has just painted himself into a corner with this 'taking a year off, coming back in 2011' plan.... assuming the top 4 teams of 2009 will still be the top 4 teams in 2011, then only 2 seats out of the 8 those teams have are not filled for 2011 - one is the second seat at Merc GP, the other is being kept warm at the mo by Mark Webber.

    Merc GP are unlikely to be able to justify the kind of cash Kimi is looking for, so that just leaves Red Bull.

    So just like this time round, Kimi has no way to leverage one team against another, Christian Horner will know his team is the only one Kimi can come to and so Christian can dictate terms.

    I think I agree with you, Kimi's 'sabbatical' looks more and more permanent... unless Kimi is prepared to lower his wage demands in future.

  • Comment number 11.

    I must admit at first I was totally against JB moving away from BrawnGP, BUT after the way Mercedes jumped in like they owned everything and began behaving like they are the World Champions (no Brawn are the Champions you have just brought into them) I saw that it was the ONLY move for JB.

    Sometimes the Germans can be totally full of themselves and ignoring everyone else. What Brawn had achieved was stuff of legends – a beautiful dream, BUT Mercedes have diluted that image now. If Brawn and Mercedes wanted JB they could of signed him weeks ago, they choose not to. And let’s face it, Ross Brawn isn’t going to turn down a £100m – who would?

    Is it the right move for JB? I believe it’s he’s ONLY move. And I don’t buy in to that Lewis Hamilton is a far superior driver then JB. Both have winning qualities. Both have skills and traits they bring to a table that is mouth watering. Yes JB is smooth and LH is ragged – in fact LH is a Maverick. BUT these two drivers will compliment each other when the time comes.

    I predict a wonderful season ahead for both JB & LH and for McLaren BUT I don’t believe Mercedes GP will be Champions next season. They let the best driver go they had and his replacement isn’t even in the same league…

  • Comment number 12.

    Raikonnen not a genuine racer??....Suzuka 2005 winning from the 8th or 9th row,Spa many current drivers would do so...opinions can vary but the reality of these 2 examples are stark.

    a man who challenges the great Schumacher in an inferior car (2003) has to be regarded as brilliant

    as to McLaren's new team...they may as well hand the title over to Alonso,Vettel or.....Schumacher driving for a German team with his old buddy Ross providing strategic and tactical nous

  • Comment number 13.

    @#5, Biglewisfan

    Shame, your username gives us all we need to know about you. Lewis is, admittedly, a fantastic driver; that I can't discuss. However, he's been with McLaren since he was 11, they've nurtured his talent since that age. You'd have to argue for a while with incredible evidence to prove that he isn't favoured at McLaren, because the simple truth is, he is.
    Your username also helps to point out that you'll be very biased towards Hamilton anyway, perhaps you should give Jenson a break, OK? He raced his socks off this year and deservedly won the championship. He obviously chose McLaren because he's hoping for a good drive, and I personally hope that he gets one.
    He will have made this decision knowing what McLaren are like - he was in F1 to witness what happened with Alonso. I think he knows that he's going to be playing second fiddle. The question is, will McLaren provide him with a car which can help him to challenge or back Lewis up? Heikki this year was pretty awful, so as long as Jenson can do better than that, I'd say that it would be a good year - transition from smaller team to a big team is a difficult thing - let's not forget, Jenson's only been at a "big" team once in his career, and that was only for a season. He still has the ability to challenge anyone if the car's anything like he wants, so let's just wait and see.

    @#7, RobbieBobbie,

    Just because Jenson is the current WC doesn't mean that McLaren have to make him their lead driver - it's their decision and I'd put my life on the fact that Lewis will be lead.

    Bring on F1 '10. Good prospects. Will be interesting to see how Button handles McLaren, and I'll be watching Hulkenberg and Barrichello at Williams, too. Should be good!

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm chuffed to see Button join Mclaren, I will definately be supporting them next season :)

    I wonder where Heikki will be driving, I never thought he was Mclaren material. I think Button will do a much better job and maybe push Hamilton as hard as Alonso did in 07'

    As for Mercedes GP, there lineup will be equally impressive as Mclaren I believe, think ROSBERG/KUBICA!!! or an all German lineup of ROSBERG/HEIDFIELD. I can't wait to find out lol.

    I think the 4 top teams will be Ferrari, Mclaren, Mercedes GP and Red Bull they all have the potential to develop a great car and they all have quality driver lineups.

  • Comment number 15.

    AJMP30 - I think the comment also quoted by the BBC from Kimi's manager Robertson "Kimi wanted a winning car, only McLaren could supply that and he only had them in his sights. He didn't want another year like this one." has the ring of truth. Kimi has never chosen / been good at expressing his emotions on these things but look back at his history? Why did he leave McLaren in the first place? There are stories that he signed with Ferrari as much as 18 months before he moved. Some of the that was undoubtedly Ron's desire to polish him in the McLaren image, but some of it must have been the fagile cars - how many times did he miss out on wins and championships because Adrian Neweys cars broke?

    So he goes to Ferrari, and finds Ross has gone and Jean Todt is on the way out as soon as Luca can arrange it. The first car is a hangover from Ross management, but the next is tough to qualify - remember the number of fastest race laps Kimi got in 2008? The big problem was he was always starting from 6th! And then the 2009 was worse! The first half of the year was a total waste of time, until they finally learned how to use the KERS and Kimi got a string of podiums and a win against the odds.

    I think it's easy to read between Robertsons lines - Kimi wants to win. Put him in a half way decent car and, like Alonso, he'll deliver. He did it this year at Spa. Unlike Jenson he CAN deliver if the car is a little off, but he can't work miracles and isn't going to deliberately put himself in a position to fight for Q3 every fortnight.

  • Comment number 16.

    Brawns reticence in sorting a contract out with JB is explained by the Merc buy out, what isn't clear is why wouldn't Merc want JB, the world no 1 in their car ? .. surely you need some continuity, otherwise they're going to spend the first few months fumbling around, and with restricted testing, are 2 new drivers going to get the best out of the Merc/Brawn car straight out of the box within a new team ?

    There are other factors at play here .. only time will tell.

    Personally I dont think this is such a bad move for JB .. a McLaren car will put him in the running at the front end of the pack, he'd have to beat Lewis anyway, so why not try and do it in the same car ? With the new regs on refueling maybe the outcome of the duel is not so certain.

    As for Lewis, he'll be quite comfortable .. he's not the newbie, he'll just get on with racing. I hope they can maintain a good relationship through the year just as Reubens and JB did this year.

    As for Kimi .. he left last year and has already spent a year in semi anonymous retriment, maybe rallying will wake him up and reinvigorate him .. If I was Kimi and had been so ignominiously dumped by Ferrari, I'd be driving for free to beat them and prove a point. His greed or pride has got in the way.

  • Comment number 17.

    Without Kimi the 2010 championship will be a farce. How can you have one of the quickest pilots in the sport, sit it out. Alonso, Button and Lewis do not make a competitive championship. Its like Tiger Woods sitting out a major!

    Come on Mercedes/Brawn; Kimi's your man and win the championship again; you'll need Kimi to do it!

  • Comment number 18.

    Bring on 2010!! Judging by the previous comments this decision is already causing accusations of bias.
    Whatever your side I think it's great to have a "Team GB" racing next year, I only hope it doesn't go the way of national sides in other sports.
    It should prove interesting and answer a few of the critics from last season who kept on about who would out perform who in an evenly matched setting. ( I bet there is still (even more) accusations of bias though).

    I cannot understand David Robertson's comments about Mclaren not being able to afford Kimi. Not wanting to pay over the price for the goods you will receive is a totally different thing. He is/was a good driver, but there is a lot of talent about now that can provide value for(a lot less) money. I think this is bye bye Kimi for good.

  • Comment number 19.

    Its certainly a big risk by Button but given how even though he's WDC people still struggle to give him recognition he has nothing to lose.

    The design of the car will be fundamental to who comes out on top and it would be more probable that it will be designed for Hamilton as hes already there.

    On the team leader position debate, I think it will be equal and Lewis will have to re-adjust to this after 2 years as team leader.

  • Comment number 20.

    I really don't understand why the public and media give Hamilton such a hard time. Hamilton is a winner and should be embraced by the whole of the UK.

    It really is a shame that a lot of us Brits like to favour the underachieving nice guy or "Jimmy White" syndrome as i'd like to call it! Snap out of it and show support for both of our world-beating Brits. Good luck Jenson but i will be cheering for Lewis next season!

  • Comment number 21.

    I just wish this "Team GB" wasn't represented by a team that has been proven to cheat time and time again. Nothing against the drivers, I like both of them... But the team? No thanks.

    A question though, I take it this makes JB have the No. 1 Car and then Mercedes GP have cars 0 and 2?

  • Comment number 22.

    Suntjorge - "If I was Kimi and had been so ignominiously dumped by Ferrari". I'm not sure Kimi sees it that way - if you had the chance to ask him I wonder if he wouldn't talk about the promise versus the cars they actually delivered which have been less than stellar now that Ross isn't in charge. In that respect I wonder if he wouldn't be better doing a deal with Mercedes that lets him drive Rally Cars as well. Norbert might be up for it, though I don't think Mercedes have anything that could be dressed up as a rally car - the C series is too big and the A's & B's are too top heavy.

  • Comment number 23.

    Re 21, the car number 0 is only used if the World Champion isnt competing in the championship - the last example of this was in 1994, when Damon Hill carried the number 0 following Prost's retirement. Next year, Button will carry no 1 and Hamilton will be no 2 (as the team mate of the WDC). Brawn/Merc will then carry numbers 3 and 4 as constructors champs - although unsure of continuity now that Merc are the owners.

  • Comment number 24.

    #13 SportsAreMyLife

    Why is it a shame that I am a Big Lewis Fan – is there something wrong with that? Lewis may have been supported by McLaren since he was 13 actually, but he had to prove himself every step of the way – it wasn’t handed to him on a plate. He won every championship he ever entered. Not many in F1 can say that. And there was the odd year when he wasn’t supported by McLaren if his results weren’t up to scratch. Do you expect McLaren to not admire and be supportive of a guy with such talent who won them a World Championship?

    Of course I am biased towards Hamilton as a Hamilton fan. Why should I give Button a break? Have you seen the comments from his fans about Lewis on his FaceBook page? They certainly don’t give Lewis a break, and neither do the British media.

    The rest of your post just confirms what I said in my first post – the phrases “second fiddle”, “will McLaren provide him with a car which can help him to challenge or back Lewis up?” just sum up what the British media will be banging on about next year.

  • Comment number 25.

    This move is a massive show of intent from Button, that demonstrates new found confidence as the world champion.

    Despite his world title, most people would rate him behind Hamilton, Alonso and probably even Vettel amongst the current crop of drivers.

    Were he to beat Hamilton in Hamilton's team, public opinion of him would undoubtedly rise, even if neither of them became world champion. Clearly Button believes he is capable of this or he wouldn't have made the move.

    But it carries a massive risk, as if Hamilton were to consistently beat him, then it would show his title was more down to the car than the driver.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have some gripes with the attitudes of our F1 pundits and some F1 fans in this country that I would like to vent.

    How could anyone possibly argue that JB at Maclaren is not a fantastic think for us the fans, himself, Mclaren and the sport in general?!!!

    And even if he ends up getting trounced by Lewis, does it really matter? The battle will make fantastic viewing for us- the fans! We are the reason the sport exists after all! He's a big boy and he knows what he's getting himself in for so stop worrying about his career choices and enjoy the show!

    He has proven to be a class act as a driver and to suggest he will be miles behind Lewis is RIDICULOUS, also; to suggest that Mclaren, with their wealth of knowledge, resources and experience can't develop their cars to accomodate their different driving styles is LUDICROUS! This is surely one of the most exciting developments in the sport for years. Team GB vs Germany (merc- who will no doubt have a fine car and 2 very capable drivers)

    I for one; am salivating in suspense of the kick-off in March! Who's with me?

    And a short lament for our Kimi who is well and truly. . . . Finnish-ed! (sorry could'nt help myself) his exit just proves what a greedy, cowardly grump he is. If he had any character and fighting spirit he'd take a pay cut a go to a smaller team and fight hard like an F1 driver should.

    So long Kimi- take an extra pair of socks to keep your toes dry in the snow!

    Ah- I feel better

  • Comment number 27.

    i think its unfair that the drivers demand these high salaries. The teams are funded by the manufacturers or companies and more money to the drivers leaves less for new jobs or current salaries for employees of that company or manufacturer, the employees may have families and mortgages to pay. The drivers are lucky to be doing what they do and having a salary of over 3 million pounds a season is enough. If they love racing so much then why are they demanding such high salaries? They should start thinking of the bigger picture and how the company or manufacturer can operate sustainably and realistically.

  • Comment number 28.

    I would have preffered to see Raikkonen partner lewis a much better line uup than hamilton-button

  • Comment number 29.

    Looking back at how JB won the championship, I was not convinced enough as to what type of driver he is. My reason being, he won the beginning of the season due to the double diffuser role and a perfect car which other teams didn't have. I can only judge him with some of his performances later in the season, which I will say average because it was obvious that LH was the better driver in second half of the season.
    Now that he has joined MacLaren, I wish him the best of lock because he will be driving along side the best and fastest driver in f1 in my opinion and what people don't realize is that LH has no fear for anyone or any track and not a lot of people can drive the way he drives. Nevertheless JB should still be competing at the top next season and that will be great for Maclaren. There will be a lot of drama though, I predict but overall it should be a fantastic season.

  • Comment number 30.

    hear hear to the post from David Haydon 100% agree!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 26 I am with you and I cant wait for the season to kick off.

  • Comment number 32.

    I like the story. McLaren have the strongest team.

    Button got lucky as did Lewis. The both won their championships by default.

    Button because his car was best for the first 6 races and Lewis because someone stopped on the last corner to let him be champion.

    Ferrari have the strongest team, Massa should have been world champion and Alonso is a double world champion.

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't buy the gloomist predictions about Button. Those that think he's going to get wiped out across the season by Hamilton will, I think, be wrong...Hamilton himself is not immune to making mistakes, he's still learning himself.

    But with this move Button will find it a lot more difficult to defend his title.

  • Comment number 34.

    Am I missing something with JB

    It took him 115 races to win and he's actually only won 7 races.

    He will be average at best next season. His record is dreadful and apart from winning 6 of the forst 7 races he was mediocre at best.

    Overrated and big headed. Wasn't worth the £3 mill far less the 8 mill McLaren are paying.

    Its a lot of money to keep the No 1 on their car.............. Will Lewis get into the right car next year :-)

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't like the fact kimi isn't racing. he is the third best driver in the world in my opinion and i would have preferred him to take the mclaren seat. i do like the idea of an all british team and i do think mclaren will win both championships next year. the team GB vs team Germany is being over hyped. as much as i like rosberg and the thought of a mercedes team i don't think they could possibly beat hamilton and mclaren. if there is a german world champion it will be vettel with red bull, they are the dark horse.

  • Comment number 36.

    Right on Ryushinku@ 33! Button will do fine, whitew @ 34- what are you on? Button proved his class this year in a good car.

    and what F1 driver have a slightly swollen cranium? 8mil is a bargain for a world champion.

    Please stop writing nonsense people!

  • Comment number 37.

    ....and hamiltonsennamossfan at 35. please keep your ridiculous opinions to yourself!

  • Comment number 38.

    Bottom line is that, after playing it tough for a few weeks, McLaren proved too weak and succumbed to the pressures of Hamilton Management aka Anthony not to accept a top driver in the team. Something Montezemolo had refused to do when the same candidate knocked on his door.

  • Comment number 39.

    Good report.

    I find it amusing that after 666 races completed, McLaren have lured the two most recent World Champions together.

    Is there something Martin Whitmarsh isn't telling us?

  • Comment number 40.

    All this criticism of Kimi seems very harsh when we don't know the terms of his agreement with Ferrari. My guess is that his payoff is on condition that he dosn't drive for anyone else in F1 next season. If so, he would only take a drive if a team was prepared to offer him a deal better than his Ferrari payoff. After all, if your employer gave you a 40k payoff provided you didn't go to work for a rival for a year, would you accept a job paying 35k?

    Let's be honest, due to the confidentiality clause in his deal with Ferrari, none of us knows enough to comment on him, so give him a break. If nothing else, it'll be interesting to see how one of F1's best stacks up against the best of WRC.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think what could prove decisive next year is the fact that refuelling is banned. Obviously that is going to affect the car balance. I think Button is taking a calculated risk based on Hamilton's tyre history, and the fact he (Hamilton) punishes his rubber as he is prone to locking up a lot. With all that extra fuel on board his tyres won't last as long as they have done this year and in 07-08. He even had trouble then though, didn't he? Hungary 08 and Turkey 07 for instance. Button is much more smoother and kinder to his tyres so will make them last longer.

    I do however believe that Hamilton will remain as Mclaren No 1 and the car and team will be focused on him.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'd like to take a moment to remind everything what a great sportsman Lewis Hamilton is!

    True he whined a little about his rubbish car at the start of 09 but continued to plug away and produced some outstanding drives at the end of the season.

    It annoys me that people knock him. His apology about the Trulli thing in Oz was genuine and he has shown the character and balls of a true World Champion since his introduction to F1. Lewis will reign in 2010 with JB 2nd

  • Comment number 43.

    Difficult one this, both became champions in the face of adversity, Lewis in the aftermath of Spygate and Jenson with the Honda legacy. Both of them are worthy of their status and both supremely talented. I hope they both push each other to the final lap in the final round, on equal terms and a sportsmanlike manner where differences are resolved on the track not in a court room in Paris or in the Mclaren boardroom. Not forgetting that they are probably the bravest overtakers in F1 at the moment.
    Alas, there can only be one winner, but hopefully the main winner will be Formula One after some of this season's stupidities.
    Whoever wins I will be happy, so long as he is British, and he also drives for a British team.
    Mclaren kept its British identity throughout its Mercedes years, Ron Dennis was a hero, albeit now a fallen one, but Brawn GP is no more and Ross himself is just a cog in a very large corporate wheel.
    Roll on 2010.

  • Comment number 44.

    Dont cry for Kimi, the truth is he won't be missed- and who really cares about his financial arrangements with ferrari, he's a wimp!

  • Comment number 45.

    Well said MrBill @ 42

  • Comment number 46.

    I've got a feeling that Button will be left in the dust of Hamilton once they are in the same car. He won't compare quite as badly as Kovalainen did against Hamilton but I'm prepared to bet he won't be that far off.

    As for Kimi, if Ferrari are still paying him for doing nothing next year then why not take a sabbatical rather than opt for a pay cut and toil in the midfield for a season? It will be interesting to see if anyone takes him on for 2011 though.

  • Comment number 47.

    JB "Life is about challenges. Most important of all, it's about challenging yourself."

    Nothing to do with money then!

  • Comment number 48.

    AJMP30 - Your being very harsh on kimi, the rumours had Ferrari paying 17million euros if he had a year off or 10 million if he got another drive, Mclaren apparently offered 5 million, trying to get a cheap deal, and kimi said no, in his position you cant blame him, why risk his neck to end up 2 million poorer?

  • Comment number 49.

    Mclaren have signed a driver who in my personal opinion is the polar opposite to Hamilton, from a Constructors point of view Mclaren have in my eyes just secured it for next season, Button is a consistant points scorer and there will be races next season where his style of racing will be much more suited to a particular track than Hamiltons, Yet Hamilton when he scores is usually a big scorer of points, so for that reason will probably end up above Jenson next year, however the gap will not be as big as most expect it to be, and Jenson will prove alot of people wrong as a result, hes a good negative to Hamilton's positive.

    If this lineup works as it should then Mclaren will walk away with the constructors next year. Drivers title is still up for grabs, and button will make a fair fist of that aswell, Hamilton will come out on top.....Just

  • Comment number 50.

    I have to echo the view expressed a number of times in the comments.

    I think it's a shame Kimi didn't take the drive offered to him by McLaren. I would have much preferred him partnering Lewis than Button. Kimi is head and shoulders above Jenson in every respect. That would have given McLaren the strongest driver line up for next season, but now that mantle rests with Ferrari.

    McLaren obviously thought Kimi was the best option as he was their first choice going back months, but because of a breakdown in negotiations they opted for the second choice Button. I would have even preferred Rosberg to him. I think Button will be found wanting next season.

  • Comment number 51.

    As I said before button joining McLaren would be bad for lewis.

    Of course I am bias and I do not like button but do you honestly think button is going to beat lewis, I think No

  • Comment number 52.

    @ comment #51

    Lewis will probably be the higher points scorer come the end of the season, but people are still too quick to rule out Button at least being a treat give him the correct car setup and he will score points for you, consistantly.

    i said it earlier, in my eyes this driver combination from a constructors point of view is perfect, maximising points at every race

  • Comment number 53.

    Threat* rather

  • Comment number 54.

    @#24 Biglewisfan

    It's a shame because you show no regard for others achievements. I'm not saying he didn't have to work - I agreed he's an exceptional driver, that doesn't come without work. It's bad that you're biased because your views are clouded by that bias.
    You should give the guy a break because he beat YOUR guy. Regardless of cars or whatever, he beat Lewis. End of. Also, if you want to lower yourself to the level of people who scream at a public figure on Facebook, be my guest, won't get you anywhere on here.
    The British Media will do what they always have - support the winner. Of course there will be things on favouring Hamilton - it's "juicy" gossip. But that's racing - deal with it.

  • Comment number 55.

    To be honest, I'm glad that Raikkonen is leaving F1 and especially glad he's not returning to McLaren. Certainly, he would have wanted special treatment to go with his oversized pay demands. Seriously, does anyone actually believe he justifies that sort wage? In my opinion, no.
    For one of the so called best drivers in the sport, he showed a dismal lack of interest both on and off the track... and that's if you only believe HALF the news articles printed here in Finland!
    Everything I saw about him seemed to scream arrogance as though he expected things to be served on a silver platter and not have to work for it... much like Alonso when he was at McLaren (Be VERY interesting what happens at Ferrari next season...)
    @whitew... Um, no, Massa should NOT have been world champion. It was only that close because Hamilton was unfairly deducted points at Belgium, while Massa did nothing to deserve the points bonus he gained from LH's penalty. Just though to remind you...

  • Comment number 56.

    Will we ever know what really went on at Brawn. I think Nick Fry & Ross Brawn are the real winners, they may say about offering a fair deal to JB but both of them have just earned millions and maybe even more than JB will earn over the rest of his career. I didnt see them wanting to put their hands in their pockets to keep JB and if Mercedes can pay them that much for a company, then the worlds number one driver should be worth the going rate and is only a small part of cost. I think this was a case of Mercedes, Fry & Brawn looking after number one 'themselves' first. Shame on them no doubt we will have lots of spin from them to protect and promote their good names. Shame on you all, I think JB wanted to stay.

  • Comment number 57.

    NLB - it's equally possible Ross doesn't value Jenson that highly - remember he's worked with some of the best, knows their value and can probably spot a great driver when he sees on. Maybe the fact he wasn't willing to twist Norberts arm speaks volumes?

  • Comment number 58.

    Tuskedloki - "why risk his neck to end up 2 million poorer?" I suspect it might have been more like "why risk his neck to end up 2 million poorer, not be able to drive a rally car or race a boat, AND have to dress up in McLaren grab to speak McLaren-speak at Rons bidding?" If that's correct I think I can FULLY understand Kimis point....

    I suspect Luca inadvertently set this up. Bernie could probably persuade Luca to back off if he was so minded.

  • Comment number 59.

    Love him or hate him, the sport will miss raikkonen. yes, he doesnt speak much and one might say he's a bit greedy, but along with hamilton, he's the most exciting driver to watch. he's also just as fast as hamilton, and probably one of the most bravest drivers the sport has ever seen. the 'kers' overtake on fisichella at spa was underrated, nobody else currently in the sport would have dared change direction so fast and nearly hit fisi when going through eau-rouge at around 200mph. its just a shame he only won 1 world championship. ignoring money and his attitude off the track, he's just as good as schumacher and hamilton, and better than alonso in my opinion. after the form he was in during the 2nd half of this season, i think he would have won the 2010 world championship if he was still at ferrari (providing they build a good car). massa could only ever beat him when kimi was off form, when hes on it hes unbeatable.

    as for mclaren, button was overshadowed by barrichello in the 2nd half of last season, hes better than kovalienen (who isnt?) but isnt in the same class as hamilton.

    2010 will be interesting to see hamilton vs alonso round 2, but wont be the same without kimi.

  • Comment number 60.

    I don't see what the issue is here. Raikkonen has been judged by those with money in the sport not to be worth the investment. There is a reason why the top teams don't want him. There are better people available for the money both in terms of skill and professionalism. Personally I like Kimi he's a bit of a lad in a sport that's becoming a bit sterile. But he should have been working his nuts off this past season to try and secure a drive. He looked like he couldn't be bothered.

  • Comment number 61.

    whitew (post #34)

    "apart from winning 6 of the forst 7 races he was mediocre at best"


    Classic! Nothing like a balanced view...

  • Comment number 62.

    jenson made the wrong move, as did mclaren. they should have signed kimi, button should have remained at brawn. does he really not expect the next brawn car to be competitive, provided how early ross started working on it this season? and does he really think that the team will suffer after mercedes is there? after all, they are a huge company with lots of expertise and resources. frankly, im disappointed in button and sad to see kimi go…and im so sick of hearing about lewis this and lewis that cant wait till alonso and massa crush him next year!

  • Comment number 63.

    With the driving styles - didnt this happen with Villeneuve and Damon in '96 for Williams? - Hill was nearly as smooth as Jenson and needed a balanced set up / bit of understeer and Villeneuve tended to set his car up with more oversteer. Williams got 12 out of 16 poles and won 12 of the 16 grand prix's (3 won by Schmumacher and 1 by Panis when only 5 finished) - I think Button and Hamilton would complement each other well and i would be surprised if a team like mclaren cannot get an agreeable set up for each of them. And if the car has been developed a bit more towards oversteer, 70 odd laps worth of fuel will help Jenson in the race (not sure about quali though!)

    I've been watching f1 for a long time and I can honestly say I would be ecstatic if Jenson or Lewis wins... roll on next year!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Mr T - "But he should have been working his nuts off this past season to try and secure a drive"

    Stefano Domenicali - "Once again, in this second half of the season, Kimi drove a fantastic race - in fact I'd say he was fantastic all weekend. He did not make any mistakes, giving his all and, along with the team, was able to get the best out of the car."

    Chris Dyer - "Kimi again drove an impeccable race, as he has always done in this part of the season."

    I think those guys knew he was driving his nuts off once they'd finally learned how to use KERS. Fisi, who is a pretty decent driver, could never master that car. I would guess the underlying problem was the relationship between Luca and Kimi wasn't close and Luca picked Fernando.

  • Comment number 65.

    Jenson is no fool, one question for all you doubters: in the last three years , how many times has he been off the road? Lewis is very good but will certainly not have it all his own way next season.

  • Comment number 66.

    The actual amounts of money involved here are staggering, plus I'm sure that additional sponsorships from the various manufacturers will more than equal the drivers 'basic'. I really don't think it matters who drives what car and when, as long as the sport delivers the entertainment value which it is beginning to redeem from years of monotony. These drivers live in another world.. Remember when Jenson revealed that he would give up all of his money, lifestyle and finery just to win one race...... Hmmm, things change pretty quickly, so the best option is to sit back and enjoy the new season and be thankful that Kimi won't be droning some monotonous dribble post race.

  • Comment number 67.

    # whitew

    What a load of tripe. Of course LH deserved his WDC. First of all he did it almost single handely - the FIA threw everything at Mclaren and not much help from Kovi who was (and excuse the pun) never at the races unlike Massa who had a strong teamate. Secondly in football there is a saying that decisions even themselves out over the course of a season - well ditto F1 - the disgrace in Belgium (which otherwise would have seen Hamilton out of sight) was overturned by a bit of long overdue good fortune in the final race - and even then Hamiltons tyres were shot which is why he was passed by Vettel in the first place.

  • Comment number 68.

    16 - If Kimi was greedy, he would have taken Ferrari's millions + a few extra millions from any team on the grid willing to pay him. As it is, he has earned enough money in his career to just race for money. He wants to win. Was ousted from Ferrari by Santander. Couldn't agree a deal with McLaren. So better not race at all. Simple.

    Kimi's a legend.

    Hope Kimi comes back after 1 year (back to Ferrari to replace Massa?). Until he does, F1 is much poorer.

  • Comment number 69.

    Bernard, fair point.

    Perran Kingscott, Lewis may have won last year but between Massa's conduct in Brazil last year and Lewis's in Australia this year, its clear that Massa would have been a better World Champion.

  • Comment number 70.

    sgbus1 What a load of tripe! Havind a strong clear teammate is clearly a disadvantage in terms of the WDC, Massa had to compete against Kimi, while Lewis just had to turn up to beat Kovaleinen, 2007 is a perfect example where the Mclaren drivers took enough points of each over to let Kimi steal it. What odds on Alonso nicking it from the two mclaren drivers next year?

  • Comment number 71.

    Rushm32 what have you against lewis is he it because he worked hard to get were he is or its because he has achieved a lot with working hard to get were he is . I feel ashamed of your comments

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm not really sure about jenson's move but i think next season is going to be really exciting. Personally I believe lewis still has the upper hand because he has been with the team much longer and on the whole an 'allround' better driver. But i say lets see what next season brings. I wish them both all the best and may the best driver win. Looking forward to it already

  • Comment number 73.

    I can't wait for next year. I'm a huge Mclaren fan and think that Jenson and Lewis next year will be a great benefit for the team.

    Potentially 8+ drivers fighting for wins each weekend will be very unpredictable.

    Not many people have mentioned Red Bull and Vettel to progress next year with Neweys car and could Shumi be leading the Merc's to f1 dominance?

    Roll on 2010

  • Comment number 74.

    on the subject of former drivers coming back (schuey to mercedes for instance), what about the rumour of montoya coming back to drive for USF1? now that would be exciting.

    bring back montoya, villeneuve, schumacher.... and of course raikkonen, that would make f1 exciting

  • Comment number 75.

    I might get a bit of the topic here, but since I cant really riguere out a coherent topic from all the different posts I will just get on with it.

    Being a fan is a reveiling thing. It reminds me a bit of buying a dog or a new winter jacket. At first you try to figuere it out with your brain, which one will be the best for me? This dog needs a lot of exercise I dont, this jacket is not warm enough etc etc. But in the end you buy the one your feeling tell you to buy. Because if you dont it will end up on a hanger (or in the case of the dog, at the wet with a lethal poison running through its vains). So ultimately the things we have feelings for tells a lot about who we are.

    Great drivers evoke great feeling in fans, for and against. I am actually surprised no one on this site tried to bring back Shumi from retirement and put him in a Mercedes as he just stepped halfway down from his advisery role at the Scuderia and persistent rumours (mainly in england) insist that Mercedes should be a purely german team. That guy surely did evoke feelings of all sorts.

    So when we all try to figuere out who will win next years championship 12 months in advance it sort of just leaves us with very few facts and a lot of hopes and anticipation. Personally I cant wait for the next season to begin and the show to unfold, regardsless of who is in what car it will be interesting. Next year with a little less feelings as it seems I have to watch Rally as well as formula one. My wife will not love that.

  • Comment number 76.

    comments on this site seem to be bias towards LH,but as i see it with the rule changes next year with narrower front tyres which mean less front end grip,and longer wheel base cars to accomadate bigger fuel tanks which will naturally induce understeer it seems to me to be perfect for buttons driving style. LH will have a hard fight to get the car to his liking, for the first few races at least. i for 1 think button will thrive with a heavy car.

  • Comment number 77.

    Whilst I imagine that Mclaren are geared up to design cars suitable for Lewis, much like last year they can't know how exactly the new regulations will shape up.

    It may well be that there will be a premium on tyre longevity and therefore Jenson may well be a fine piece of hedging your risks.

    in team mate terms all the leading teams appear to have potentially competitive pairs
    Button - Barrichello was competitive - and it was Barrichello made the difference for Brawn to win... (Barrichello showed great maturity and his earned FWIW my respect and admiration - I'd love to see him in another competitive car)
    Vettel - Webber worked this year, but if Vettel gets ahead of himself he may expect Webber to be a number two... and then...?
    Alonso - Massa - I think Massa compared exceptionally well against Raikkonen - I don't think he'll play second string to Alonso + we know how Alonso cope with situations like that...

    as for Brawn, I regard the potential Heidfeld - Rosberg, as certainly the weakest pairing.

    Maybe Brawn & Mercedes feel, as Williams do, that the car and the team are more important than the drivers...
    If it should succeed - then IMHO the kudos should go to Ross Brawn and maybe we should then re-evaluate who contributed what to Schumacher's amazing set of wins?

  • Comment number 78.

    #65, Abrupt1 - 'Jenson is no fool, one question for all you doubters: in the last three years , how many times has he been off the road?'

    My granny has also not been off the road often - but then she does drive much slower than everyone else.....

  • Comment number 79.

    big mistake mclaren, kimi would have been better!

  • Comment number 80.

    As it happens alot of the comments from the so called motor sport journalists in the last 24 hrs appear to be way of the mark!

    If rumours around the financing of the Mercedes / Brawn deal are to be believed, then Jenson didnt actually have a choice.

    He had a bona fide offer on the table from Brawn, up until the point the deal was sealed and announced, upon which it became void and null. This is actually a far more reasonable and rational explanation.

    Personally Im thrilled, its great to see such a strong british line up, in a strong british team! Lets wave the flags and wish them both good luck !!

  • Comment number 81.

    whitew what are you on about. JB is not that bad and he has never had a GP winning car before. When he had a chance at BAR he made the most of it - where was his teammate then. I am looking forward to next season as a fan of any sports star who is British. Lets get behind our boys and hope no silly internal politics ruin what could be a great season of racing between 2 British WDCs.

  • Comment number 82.

    Jo123 - think you have me mixed up with someone else!!
    I think McLaren will not see Lewis an outright number 1 - they didnt do it when they should have done when Alonso threw his toys out of the pram and tried to shop the team after Hungary and to be honest, he has only seemed like a number 1 the last 2 years because kovy, although he seems a really nice guy, is just not up to it.... mclaren are fair with team mates (apart from 97 Jerez and 98 Melbourne... lol)

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm sick and tired of people calling this a bad move by Button. Notably, Sir Jackie Stewart, but others (some here included) as well.

    Mercedes took over the team where he SAID he would have been happy to stay at. Clearly, that take-over changed things for both parties. Brawn even said himself he was "99% sure" of keeping Button - and Button wouldn't readily walk away from the team he won the championship with. Anyone in their right mind would realise that the take-over has affected both parties, and so McLaren stepped in and offered something to Button so that he could have a drive next year. It's not about "Brawn not doing enough to keep Button" or "Button especially wanting to leave" - it's the fact that the situation that the two parties had wanted changed - leaving Button in the (apparent) cold whilst Mercedes searched for a completely new driver to parter Rosberg.

    McLaren WOULD NOT have made this move if they had not wanted to. Yes, Raikonnen's wage demands would have been high, but if they had really, REALLY wanted him they would have coughed it up, they aren't exactly poor. However, they obviously think they can do the job for Jenson, and feel that he can do the job for them, so they made him an offer.

    I think the prospect of racing for one of the most successful teams will help Jenson rather than hinder him; he's a fantastic driver, Lewis Hamilton HIMSELF even said "He was the guy everyone wanted to be." Yes, LH was talking about karting, but then LH went on to win all his titles, including karting, didn't he? The skills are transferable. Jenson still has bags of ability, and if McLaren can produce a car thats even remotely like what Jenson needs (which, with the new regulations coming in, is certainly possible, especially for a team of McLaren's resources) then, not only will Jenson be competitive, but I reckon he could definately give LH a run for his money.

    Prospects for 2010 look good, let's keep it that way, please. It's not even been 24 hours and already there's far too much negative talk about a talented driver joining a talented seems stupid.

  • Comment number 84.

    Interestingly, didn't the great Murray Walker pick these two for 'his' team out of the current crop of drivers. WOuld love to hear his verdict now!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Lets just remember that Jenson has already moved into a team built 'round a World Champion (Villeneuve) when he moved to BAR and one of my favourite anecdotes was that he sat in JV's chair at briefing and didn't move when JV came in. At the end of the briefing JV (reportedly) said "We'll speak about this later." and Jenson replied "About a chair? I don't think so." This is a guy that isn't easily cowed and now he has a world championship won't back down to anyone.
    With regards to driving styles the cars next year are large fuel tanked and with long wheel bases. Try sliding those around (as Hamilton does)and say good bye to your rears very quickly. Two great drivers, a team with a lot to prove and a great season for British motorsport.

  • Comment number 86.

    Many seem to have forgotten Button came 3rd with 85 points (without a win)in the championship in 2004 in a BAR, only beaten by the Ferrari pair of Barrichello and Schumacher and well ahead of Räikkönen and Alonso. Now he has found out how to win his ability to pick up points when things are not perfect may make the difference at the end of the year.
    I believed at the end of the last season Hamilton could learn a great deal from Button if he moved to the McLaren team then. In the long term this move could be great for both drivers if the press don't mess it up.

  • Comment number 87.

    @34, whitew
    To say Button is average shows a lack of understanding
    Winning 6 races in a season regardless of car matches Kimi and actually beats Hamilton in there Championship winning seasons.
    Also as others have said Button has never had a winning car before, his best were '04 in which the Ferrari's were still dominant and Button was best of the rest behind Schu and Rubens, beating the likes of Alonso and Montoya. Then '06 scoring more points than any other driver in the last 6 races despite having essentially the 4th best car.
    Give him the equipment and he's one of the best, not THE best but up there with them.

  • Comment number 88.

    @#32 Whitew, i do suspect you've no knowledge on f1 racing. On what planet were you on the day in 2008, when Lewis Hamilton won the driver's championship in Brazil? Could you name me the driver that stopped to let LH pass? Your comment has no justification! At the conclusion of your comment, i clearly understand that you're a supporter of Ferrari, that's include the one's that drives for them, which i find normal. But to comment on Hamilton & Button being lucky world champions is a total shame. Better support your favorite driver & team than to criticise the ones that are worthy of their achievement.

  • Comment number 89.

    In a return to : At 3:49pm on 18 Nov 2009, biglewisfan wrote:
    #13 SportsAreMyLife

    I do agree with your points about lewis being better than JB.

    But you state "He won every championship he ever entered. Not many in F1 can say that".
    thats just not true
    2001 Formula Super A World Championship - 15th
    2002 Formula Renault UK - 3rd
    2004 Formula Three Euroseries - 5th


  • Comment number 90.

    All of the politics of who's going to be Number One over who at McLaren, and how much Kimi is earning to take the year off shouldn't take away the fact that the 2010 F1 season is going to attract a whole lot of new fans partly thanks to the media coverage over JB's World Championship and his move to join Lewis at McLaren. Surely thats a good thing, and with new teams maybe not being "totally" uncompetitive because of using experienced F1 drivers such as Glock at Manor GP, and then the added media page space that will be given to the Senna name being associated with the sport again I say roll on Bahrain, March 12-14!!

  • Comment number 91.

    These whining 'commentators' moaning on about Jenson Button's move to Mclaren beggar belief! How on earth can JB's move to one of the best Formula One teams be a bad move? JB's driving style is very different to Lewis Hamilton's, but I reckon LH will have to change his driving style far more than Jenson will, to suit the longer wheelbase, heavier cars of the 2010 season. F1 cars from 1994 to 2009 were designed for 20 lap sprints between frenzied pit-stops, the 2010 machines are being designed to be fuel efficient and consistently quick over a whole race distance, if the regs allow, sometimes without tyre changes! Driver stamina and restraint will be fine attributes, and everything I have seen about Jenson Button equips him very well to take on the challenge of the 2010 F1 World Drivers' Championship. Go for it Jens!

  • Comment number 92.

    Good blog Andrew....I feel let down by Kimi's antics - I can see why Ferrari were so desperate to pay off Apathetic Man...terrible debilitating disease on one still young...where did the hunger go?
    He only won 2007 because Alonso and Hamilton canceled each other out...real shame...didn't have the cojones of Hakkinnen...
    Anyway, the rule changes will suit Button better, and it'll be interesting to see how both drivers fair with the scarlet car of Alonso ahead of them during next season's races;-)

  • Comment number 93.

    I suspect that Button has joined the right team;; for Mclaren will be in the top two teams, and unlike Alonso, if Button's car turns out to be the fastest then so what if Hamilton is a better driver,, did Alonso achieve anything by going back to Renault---- accept not Qualifying in a lot of races.
    Button might find himself in with a chance of the World title again if Lewis has say bad luck and is there really any disgrace in finishing 2nd in the World Championship
    So Button is not taking a hell of a risk is he; when did a driver take any risk signing on for Mclaren, a team that has been in the top two for decades.. Ps whats the Odds that Brawn has sussed out a another loop hole in the Rules Mmmmmm

  • Comment number 94.

    Although I am neither a fan of Mac or Ham, Button joining up is surely the kiss-of-death for the team. Mac must be out to lunch to buy such an old, expensive piece of baggage - for what? Bad Company?
    MB/Brawn/Yadda were smart money NOT to hire Button. This year was his final hurrah, anyway you slice it. With two prima-donnas vying for top dog, this formula can only lead to tears - my money has got to go on Red Bull, et al.

    The global, financial shakeout has hurt the racing industry - yet it still appears to spend huge amounts of its sponsors money in all the wrong places. I hope the A1GP, etc, help pick up the slack, as its all about auto racing, and in the end, we all win.

    Its time to retire these old dogs and return to its core business - not silly posturing, politics, and Halloween Nazi costumes

  • Comment number 95.

    Concerning letting talent slip away, the end-of-season produced a gem in Kamui Kobayashi in the way he was willing to outpace even Button. He's the one driver who should not be over-looked.

    Drivers aside, it would be great if BBC put together a dream-team of F1 broadcasters: Martin Brundle and Sir Jackie Stewart. Jonathan L. is a nice bloke, I'm sure, but too error-prone and obviously lacking that punch that comes with in-depth F1 knowledge. Sorry, JL :(

    Ted (pits commentator) and Lee McKenzie seem to do fine, though.

  • Comment number 96.

    I have been reading all the comments against Jenson Button. I think it is extremely unfair to criticise button like this.

    If you look at 2008, Hamilton had the best car. The Mclaren in 2008 was as dominant as the Brawn car in 2009. The reason why Hamilton struggled to win the championship and that too by 1 point is that he made too many unforced errors. If you look at Jenson's driving in 2009 he committed the least amount of errors and when his car was not performing he was making sure that he was still collecting points. A world champion has to ensure that he / she commits the least amount of unforced error.

    Therefore Button can be considered more reliable. In 2005 when Alonso won the championship he actually won in in the same fashion. His car was more dominant & consistent than the others and once he had the lead, he was maintaining it by being careful. Jenson has done exactly that. Jenson also proved that if the needs arises then he can drive aggressively as he did in brazil. Hamilton and Alonso in my view are the most overrated champions.

    In a direct confrontation with Nick Heidfeld, Alonso has always lost out to Heidfeld. Once just need to look at the tapes on 2005 ( monaco ) and the 2007 ( Bahrain ) where Nick made Alonso look very ordinary while overtaking him. Also Alonso has always found it difficult to get past Heidfeld. I am hoping that in 2010 Heidfeld gets a good car from Brawn.

  • Comment number 97.

    whitew @32 WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT??? Lewis and Jenson only won by default??? How can having the best cat at the time (the first 7 races) be default??? The Championship is won over a season, not the just a handful of races. The fact that Brawn and Jenson did not dominate for the whole year only led to a more interesting season. The championship was won with a race in hand so hardly down to the wire.
    And as for someone "stopping" to let lewis past...PLEEEEEEAAASEE!!

    To those of you giving fantastic insight and asking genuine questions THANK YOU! As for the rest of the twaddle......

  • Comment number 98.

    Next year will be rather interesting. I think JB is better than a lot of critics give him credit and although the driving styles of JB and Hamilton are very different, that is often the case in F1 between team mates. They get on well off the track and it has been shown already that JB can work with his team mate in a competitive environment.

    A lot of the problems with Alonso was that he wanted to be the A1 driver in the team and have all the support which McLaren wouldn't seem to give him.

    I am not convinced that Mercedes will be the top team going into next year. Most of the other teams have been planning next season for quite some time and I think next season might be very close between the several teams. Oddly I think that Red Bull will have a very strong car next season, they arguably had the fastest car at the end of this season, they have a very strong driver line up and the changes in spec are not going to be as big in many ways, though the new fuel regulations will make a big difference to the weight of cars at the beginning on next season.

    As for Kimi, I think him taking next season off will be good for him. He is a great racer when he wanted to be but he seemed to have lost his motivation in Ferrari. Hopefully he will go away and have some fun, rallying and then if he wants comes back a better driver. Though I am not sure he will as I don't think he will earn as much money as he did for Ferrari

  • Comment number 99.

    I for one shall miss the enigmatic man of F1. Each sport needs a variety of personalities and in Kimi we had the one who "spoke" with his actions on the track.

    In saying McLaren couldn't "afford" Kimi is it simply financial - he wanted to race, rally and not wear the corporate suit so why should he be judged as proud and supercilious - he is a man who knows his worth.

  • Comment number 100.

    We should all wish Jenson luck playing no 2 to Lewis next year. Everyone knows Jenson is smooth but Hamilton is fast. In an equal car I dont think Jenson could beat Lewis. Besides it will be good to see Jenson tested he managed to win the drivers championship last year. With no more than steady driving some massive slices of luck but most importantly a diffuser.


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