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What Mercedes buy-out of Brawn could mean

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Andrew Benson | 14:48 UK time, Monday, 16 November 2009

What was already shaping up to be a fascinating 2010 Formula 1 season got a whole lot more intriguing in the wake of the announcement that Mercedes is to take over the Brawn team.

Of greatest interest to most people in Britain will be the now-very-likely prospect that Jenson Button will become Lewis Hamilton's team-mate at McLaren, the new world champion's negotiations with the Mercedes-nee-Brawn team having reached an impasse.

While it is still just about possible that Button could stay at what will now be called Mercedes Grand Prix, it is very unlikely and, on the face of it, that leaves McLaren with an all-British line-up that, in terms of publicity at least, lives up to the billing of 'dream team'.

The last two world champions - both of them English, good-looking, with glamorous girlfriends and immensely marketable - in the same team would surely guarantee McLaren the lion's share of interest at the start of next season.

It will be surprising to many that Button will almost certainly not be staying with the team that made him world champion.

But it seems his desire for a pay-rise came up against Mercedes's wish to produce a German world champion driving a German car, and they have not been able to secure a mutually satisfactory deal.

It seems odd that a global car company setting up its own F1 team would not want to have the current world champion driving for them.

But, despite Mercedes's insistence on Monday that its team will be an international one, in the same way as it is a global brand, it seems Button's face does not fit - at least not at the price he wants.

Having taken a pay cut from £8m to £3.5m to help secure Brawn's future last winter, Button was after something like £6m for 2010. Mercedes/Brawn refused to budge. And now Button is likely to receive something like £7-8m from McLaren - still a long way off the salaries of Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, and what Kimi Raikkonen will earn not to drive next year, unless he can find a seat after being forced out of Ferrari to make way for Alonso.

I'm led to believe, though, that Button's failure to agree a deal with Brawn/Mercedes is not solely down to financial reasons.

McLaren have a vacancy, and in the context of their dramatic rise back to competitiveness in 2009 - and Brawn's relative fall from it - many in F1, Button perhaps among them, believe McLaren may well have the quicker car next year.

On Friday evening, I texted a friend, a respected F1 journalist, to tell him that Button had been given a tour of McLaren that day, the implication being that he was close to signing for the team.

"Mmm. Not sure that would be wise," was the response.

It's a fascinating match-up, to be sure, but good though Button is you would not find many people in F1 who fancied his chances of beating Hamilton in the same car.

buttonhamiltongetty595.jpgHamilton and Button share a joke - but how would they get on as team-mates?

Hamilton is widely regarded as the out-and-out fastest driver in F1. On top of that, McLaren is very much Hamilton's team - he has been nurtured by them from the age of 11.

McLaren insist they treat both their drivers equally, and that they provide them equal equipment. But Alain Prost, David Coulthard and Alonso have all found that does not stop the unfavoured driver feeling very much an outsider.

Complicating things further for Button is the fact that his and Hamilton's driving styles are diametrically opposed.

Unusually, Hamilton thrives on oversteer, using an unstable rear end to get his car quickly turned into the corner and pointing in the right direction for the exit - and the McLaren has been developed in that direction.

For Button, though, an oversteering car is anathema. He prefers a car that has a touch of understeer, which he can control with his delicate application of throttle and brakes.

It's not impossible for a single team's cars to be set up in two such contrasting ways, but development will generally take the car in a direction that suits one style or the other - and not both.

There will be days when Button will beat Hamilton - perhaps at Turkey, for example, where Hamilton's acrobatic style has caused him problems with excessive tyre wear in the past - but I am not alone in suspecting these are likely to be few and far between - unless Button is very much better than he is currently considered to be.

Meanwhile, Mercedes's decision to buy its own F1 team completely flies in the face of the approach being taken by all other car manufacturers.

Honda, BMW and Toyota have gone already; Renault is teetering on the brink. Yet Mercedes is investing millions in creating its own team, when it already had a 40% shareholding in a perfectly good one.

Despite buying Brawn and selling back its 40% shareholding in McLaren, Mercedes will continue as both engine supplier and major sponsor of McLaren at least until 2015.

That has come about because the contract that tied McLaren and Mercedes together included a clause that neither could do anything in F1 without the other's permission.

McLaren did not want Mercedes to buy Brawn so when the German company insisted, they demanded a quid pro quo that, as far as McLaren are concerned, contains all the positives of a Mercedes involvement but none of the negatives.

Mercedes has justified its decision on the basis that, following the political battles of 2009, running an F1 team is much cheaper than it was, and teams are guaranteed more income from the commercial rights holders.

Whether Mercedes makes a better job of running an F1 team than its fellow manufacturers remains to be seen.

More than a few people, though, have questioned the wisdom of selecting Nico Rosberg as its lead driver.

Quick though the German undoubtedly is, he has done nothing in his four years in F1 to prove he is one of the true elite. Yet this is the man Mercedes has apparently chosen to represent them in battle with Hamilton in a McLaren and Alonso in a Ferrari.

Mercedes almost certainly has at least one eye on prising Sebastian Vettel out of the grasp of Red Bull, but that will have to wait at least another year, and even then the young German rising star would have to be bought out of a contract that ties him to his current team until the end of 2012.

One final thought. What a difference 11 months have made to Brawn bosses Ross Brawn and Nick Fry.

They spent last winter desperately trying to save their team following Honda's decision to quit F1. To do that, they engineered a management buy-out that involved them paying a figure widely believed to be a euro for the team, which was largely funded by Honda this year.

Now, Mercedes has taken a 75% shareholding - which it has bought from Brawn and Fry. I have no idea how many millions it paid but, as well as securing the future of their team, Brawn - already a millionaire thanks to his years at Ferrari - and Fry are now undoubtedly rich beyond most people's wildest dreams.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It could be probably mean this:
    Mercedes: Rosberg, Raikkonen
    McLaren: Hamilton, Button
    Ferrari: Raikkonen, Alonso
    Renault: Kubica, Kovalainen
    Red Bull: Webber, Vettel
    Williams: Barrichello, Hulkenburg
    Campos: Senna, De La Rosa
    USF1: Wurz, Andretti
    Toro Rosso: Buemi, Alguersuari
    Lotus: Trulli, Petrov
    Manor: Carroll, Villeneuve
    Force India: Sutil, Liuzzi
    Qadbuck BMW-Sauber: Heidfeld, Glock

    2011 Calendar-
    Australia,Melbourne
    Malaysia, Sepang
    Bahrain,Manama
    Spain,Barcelona
    Monaco, Monte Carlo
    Turkey, Istanbul
    India, New Delhi
    Canada, Montreal
    Britain, Silverstone
    Germany, Hockenheim
    Hungary, Budpast
    Europe, Valencia
    Belgium,Spa
    Italy, Monza
    South Korea,
    Singapore,
    Japan, Suzuka
    China, Shanghai
    Ahu Dhabi, Yas Marina
    Brazil, Interlagos
    What Do you Think People?

  • Comment number 2.

    Not sure that signing for Maclaren is a good idea for JB.
    I'm not sure the Maclaren will be so fast without Kers, they obviously got that right but whay will happen to the car without?

    Great blog, well done

  • Comment number 3.

    Interesting the comparisons between Button and Hamilton. It will definitely be one to watch, though now that Button has won his world championship he could be forgiven for thinking he had nothing left to prove.
    Going up against Hamilton, however, shows that he still has the desire and hunger to succeed and this will be a true test of his skill and talent - can he match up to Hamilton?
    I also think that the insider/outsider story is mostly a fabrication of news journalists to sell copy and rather than reports "rifts" actually helps contribute towards them. I see it has already started and they're not even an official team yet!
    Both drivers are consummate professionals, so why not let them do the talking on the track and stop trying to create stories out of nothing.

  • Comment number 4.

    About the drivers, I think Mercedes are looking to Sebastian Vettel, who will be available from 2012 ... He's the German driver they really want.

  • Comment number 5.

    you sware it's a done deal BUT'S IT NOT.kimi to mclaren!!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    It will be a huge dissapointment if Kimi is not in a top team next year. He is rated as the best driver (along with Alonso and Hamilton) on the grid.

    I really hope that Button does not go to Mclaren so that we can see Kimi v Hamilton in a straight fight. However, many people believe that Kimi will take his sabatical (apparantly, he will make more money by NOT driving in F1 due to his contract with Ferrari!). It also seems that Heidfeld is Mclarens second choice, reducing Kimi's chances even further.

    F1 will be the poorer without him.

  • Comment number 7.

    #1 You could well be spot on but I think that despite what they are saying or seem to be saying I think that they want Kimi more than Button.

    I don't think and have said before that a move from Brawn wouldn't be the best career advice for JB. He should, if possible, take what is on offer and stay where he is.

    At McLaren he will be chasing shadows. I would love to be proved wrong and find that it is the other way round but I don't think so.

    This year has been stella for Lewis all things considered. He had a chance in the last GP to win as many races as Vettal! This wasn't possible due to the failure with his brakes. In addition he was unlucky when he got the puncture in the first corner in Germany when tagged by Webber.

    Either way and like everyone on here, BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    All British team Mclaren next year then. British team with British Drivers! Love it! Oh except they may not have a home race to show this off. Calling all people to join the facebook group: Save the British F1 race and post your support on there as well as here. Please...

  • Comment number 9.

    I dont understand why F1 would be poorer without Kimi ? ... he's spent most of the year out of the spotlight, I doubt he'll be missed at all .. except in those post race interviews where he's a non stop bundle of quick whitted one liners and belly laughs !

    Why would a team sign a man who seems totally disinterested unless he's in a race winning car ?

    Seems extraordinariy that Brawn/Button will part ways .. but I guess we should never be surprised at the capacity of F1 to surprise us.

    Hamilton / Button should be an interesting pairing, it will ensure that they're consistently scoring points in all races.

  • Comment number 10.

    f1fanatic - I think you mean Massa not Raikkonen at Ferrari!! Also I'd love to see a 20 race calendar in 2011, but I just can't see the teams accepting it.

    Can't understand why Button would go to McLaren and drive with (and be embarrassed by) McLaren's Favourite Son. Following from this I also can't understand all the flack for Rosberg, he's got great results with an inferior Williams, especially as he's never driven for one of the elite you can hardly start writing him off already. Agree with f1fanatic that with McLaren's reported interest in Raikkonen he could easily get the seat with Rosberg at Mercedes.
    Can't wait for next season, Alonso v Vettel v Massa v Hamilton (v Rosberg v Raikkonen!) etc.
    Personally hope Kovalainen gets no seat, just not good enough and Grosjean gets another chance as anyone who is just 4 tenths of Alonso's pace in Abu Dhabi qualifying is worth a full seat.

    2010 Lineup
    Ferrari - Alonso, Massa
    McLaren - Hamilton, Button
    Red Bull - Vettel, Webber
    Mercedes - Rosberg, Raikkonen
    Renault - Kubica, Glock
    Williams - Barrichello, Hulkenburg
    Toro Rosso - Buemi, Alguersuari
    Force India - Sutil, Liuzzi
    Campos - Senna, Petrov/Maldonado
    Lotus - Trulli, Sato
    Manor - Davidson, Di Grassi
    BMW Qadbak - Heidfeld, Kobayashi
    US F1 - Wurz, Grosjean (This is the most intriguing so hard to predict)

  • Comment number 11.

    I think Mclaren still want Kimi, so if he does go and Brawn decide on Heidfeld alongside Rosberg... Button wont have a drive!!! HA HA HA

    That would be strange! the world champion not wanted

  • Comment number 12.

    Don't really care what happens to Button now if Villeneuve is likely to return. The prospect of Villeneuve in an F1 car again makes the 2010 much more watchable already. F1 is just so "corporate" with drivers so bland and repressed. Even Kimi who appears to have a decent life has been told to keep his mouth and life shut! There should be a "bring back Jacques" campaign!

    Having said that, Button has always tried to align himself to "the fastest car" with disastrous results. I suspect this will be another example of how to get things wrong.

    Button's best bet will be to go to Maclaren even though he won't stand a chance against "Hamilton's Team" as Brawn/Mercedes will still be competitive, but will be 4th behind Maclaren, Ferrari and Red Bull.

  • Comment number 13.

    What will be interesting if JB goes to Maca is how the contrast of styles (Button smooth v Hamilton agressive)will play out in the economy battle of next years single fuel fill. Anyone who throws their car around will get mullered in the last phase, so let's not assume Lewis will have it all his own way...

  • Comment number 14.

    I hope JB does not end up like Damon in 1997, world champion but no decent drives available. Be a terrible shame if JB ended up at the back of the grid in a Proton!

    Not sure about going to McLaren. The car was designed for Lewis who loves oversteer, JB hates it!

    JB has had problems in the past negotiating contacts, lets hope he can defend his title when the music stops.

  • Comment number 15.

    There is the sense that Hamilton can wrestle better with a bad car and Jenson needs a good one so that he can be his smooth self. No refueling so different tyre wear will suit Jenson. Could be closer than you expect if they become team mates. Jenson knows this!

  • Comment number 16.

    @11 Not really it has happened before.... Williams kicked Hill out the year he got his WDC and he ended up in an Arrows.

    Personally I think Button would be better off at Merc with Niko, that would in my mind give Merc a competitive couple of drivers with Button being on the money now give Niko a chance to prove that he is a top rate driver.

    As for Kimi sorry but I think he is best in a 2nd seat (and ideally at McLaren) he is too inconsistent and not driven enough to merit the no1 car at a top team. Personally I would put him along side Lewis, and hope that the challenge of racing Lewis in the same car is enough to perk Kimi's racing spirit, because when he is in the mood he is electric.

    Is it known that the reason JB hasn't signed with Brawn/Merc is because JB was holding off for more money? Or is that just press speculation? Could it be the case that Brawn (and maybe JB together) have held off driver negotiations whilst the i's were dotted and the t's crossed with the Merc deal?

  • Comment number 17.

    I am sure Mclaren would prefer Kimi to JB but they will probably have to pay Kimi 30+ mil as oppose to 7-8 for JB

  • Comment number 18.


    At 14:48 on 16 Nov 2009, Andrew Benson wrote:

    "Hamilton is widely regarded as the out-and-out fastest driver in F1."

    By whom? Yes he is one of the outstanding drivers, but to start with it is widely acknowledged that race-for-race Massa clearly outdrove him the year they fought for the title.


    "Quick though the German undoubtedly is, he has done nothing in his four years in F1 to prove he is one of the true elite."

    You must have the name and nationality wrong there. You mean Button has done nothing in TEN years to prove he is anything more than average. He's struggled against the likes of Ralf, Fisichella, Trulli and Barichello; in fact he was outdriven by a 38-year-old Rubens for the last 10 gp's of this season and if you look into each race when he outscore him in this period it was due to circumstance alone. In all honesty not many can imagine this happening to Rosberg who has crushed Wurz and Nakajima drivers of comparable calibre. On top of that Rosberg has a GP2 title under his belt whilst Button's palmare is limited to British Formula Ford.



  • Comment number 19.

    Jenson Button World Champion and a deserved one at that, that statement seems to grate with a few people who just can't wait to put him down, get over it. Jenson will be competive where ever he goes.

  • Comment number 20.

    Oh and I really don't understand all this 'team Hamilton' junk about McLaren, especailly seeing that it seems to hinge on the idea that Ron Dennis paid 10s of millions to put double world champion Alonso into his car.... only so that he could write him off in favour of an untested rookie.... Sorry but I just can't get my head round that idea.

    Personally it seems far more likely to me that Alonso went and truly soiled his blanket by demanding that the team that has staked its name time and again on equal treatment for both drivers put all of its muscle behind him and ignore his team mate (who was beating him in the DWC at the time), pulling the pit lane shinanigans at Hungary when he stopped Lewis from being able to get new tyres on in time for a final run and then just to put a big cherry on top of the icing tried to bully Ron Dennis into doing things his way by threatening to go to the FIA with 'secrets' regarding the spygate scandal.

  • Comment number 21.

    What's happening with Kovalainen?

    Do we know for sure that he's not being retained for 2010?

    I don't think Hamilton and Button in the same team is a good idea. We've seen how McLaren favour Hamilton (he certainly benefited from the new parts over Kovalainen) so how on earth would they manage two vastly different driving styles?

  • Comment number 22.

    as an avid viewer of F1 it saddens me when a small independent company like brawn goes under to bigger global companies sadly big money rules and the fans loose out again.
    if jensen button goes to mclaren i can only hope its a disaster for both and one of the new teams running cosworth engines takes the lead.
    if button goes to mclaren he will become number two to hamilton and that sadly would ruin his chances of ever getting another world title.
    i will watch avidly to see if bruno senna has any of his late great uncles abilities.
    the new lotus looks good and will be hard to beat if the package is correct.

  • Comment number 23.

    18. At 5:32pm on 16 Nov 2009, nibs wrote: ~Gibberish~


  • Comment number 24.

    I'm not really all that happy about this and its likely consequences, although I recognise I have no right to feel aggrieved. It's a shame that Brawn in its current form will disappear from the grid to be effectively replaced by another manufacturer team; I also doubt now that Raikkonen will be racing next year, which is a terrible shame.

  • Comment number 25.

    Er, nibs:

    Jenson was a rookie to Ralf Schumacher at Williams, and was crushed and bullied compared to Fisi and Trulli at Benetton. Any comparisons to those three as team-mates are pretty spurious.

    And as for being outraced by Rubens, he may have been out-qualified, but managing to finish ahead of Rubens in half of the races where he started behind him is exactly the reason Button is WDC.

    I can't say I'm a fan of the idea of Jenson at McLaren as I think he'll suffer by comparison with Lewis Hamilton, who really is an embryonic all-time great. But to pretend he's not proved he's an above-average driver with spurious statistic is a right load of hogwash.

  • Comment number 26.

    The bias with which British journalists write about Hamilton and Button is absolutely astounding. It is like Button is “our boy” and Hamilton “the other one”. It makes me sick. Not every British person is a Button fan you know.

    Look at this article: Button prefers a car “which he can control with his delicate application of throttle and brakes” – gosh a more fawning and biased description of driving styles I don’t think one could have.

    And didn’t Lewis have a one-stop strategy at Turkey this year and managed to handle his tyres perfectly well. This is another stupid anti-Hamilton myth that has been propagated by the prejudiced British media – it is actually a fact that Heikki is a lot harder on his tyres than Lewis according to McLaren’s head of engineering, Paddy Lowe, but you hardly ever hear about that.

    Stop painting Lewis as the villain who controls everything and makes everything difficult.

  • Comment number 27.

    All the above comments and speculations are most entertaining, almost more so than the F1 season, which happened to be one of the better ones since MS's retirement. The only sensible move would be for Mercedes to get Vettel (pronounced fettle), then any competition between Hamilton and Button would be only a supporting act. Vettel is going to be the next champion, whether with Red Bull or Toro Rosso or Mercedes is irrelevant. Greatest talent on any grid. And a fabulous sense of humour.

  • Comment number 28.

    you have the fin driving for two cars

  • Comment number 29.

    @27 Vettle still has to prove he can overtake on the race track.... I do think he is a really quick driver and can win races from the front, but so could Ralf Schumacher, Trulli and countless other drivers.

    I am really REALLY looking forward to next season as it seems to me that there are a large number of drivers and cars looking to prove themselves...
    Alonso I am sure wants to get back into the winning way and stamp his authority on Ferrari and Massa, Massa himself will want to prove he has fully recovered and will be wanting DWC gold of his own.
    Lewis and McLaren will be wanting to pick up where they left off at the end of 2009 and he will be keen to gain a 2nd DWC, whoever his team mate is (my money is Kimi or Jenson) will be seeking to beat the man who many think is one of the all time greats in the making.
    Mercedes and whoever they have driving (Rossberg and someone else) will be eager to prove that last seasons car was no fluke and that next seasons will be even stronger (given the limits on Brawn last season I think thats highly possible)
    Red Bull with a new Newey car will be looking to prove they can remain a front running team. Webber and Vettel are also both hugely competitive and eager to make a name for themselves.

    Then further down the grid there is going to be a big battle to be best of the 'new teams' and a burning desire by that team to be the 'new Brawn' (something I doubt will happen).

  • Comment number 30.

    I for one will be quite interested to see how Hamilton and a few others cope with new rules and fuel for the entire race without swiftly destroying their tyres.

  • Comment number 31.

    Like several other posters I'm wondering where this leaves Kimi? If the reports about the difference in Ferrari payments whether Kimi races or doesn't are correct, it seems like it may be hard to find a seat that offers both a chance of winning races AND more money than sitting at home.

    It seems to me there are three, maybe four drivers on the grid at present who can get decent results with poor cars - Lewis, Kimi, Fernando and I suspect Sebastian Vettel. That's the hallmark of true champions and it would be a shame if Kimi didn't line up with the others in Bahrain next March.

    It looks like it has to be either McLaren or Brawn if that's going to happen. Clearly Kimi is a known quantity at McLaren - how many times was he close to winning the Championship there? I can't see him being worried about Lewis, so that would seem to be the best option if they can pay Kimi and give him some freedom to go Rallying and race powerboats, or whatever it is he wants to do that never fitted with Rons corporate imagery.

    Brawn though is intriguing. I've always wondered if part of the problem at Ferrari was Kimi was recruited at least a year before he moved by Jean Todt & Ross Brawn. When he got there he found a different organization - Jean was being pushed out by Luca, and Ross had gone fishing. It seemed like Kimi eventually got to grips with the car whose design was started under Ross, and won the championship, but the '08 wasn't good and it took too long to get what was possible out of the '09. When they finally understood how to use it, they'd already stopped development. Where does all that leave Kimi and Ross? I assume Kimi left on good terms with Norbert - he's certainly been complimentary in public. Does that mean there's a chance they can work out a deal?

  • Comment number 32.

    I personally dislike this decision, it's a shame to see Brawn taken over after just winning the title.
    As for Jenson, I would love him to stay at the new Brawn Team. McLaren is seen as 'Lewis's' Team and Brawn is seen as 'Jenson's', and I just think Jenson will not do as well at McLaren than he may do at Brawn, as he could possibly be in the shadow of Hamiltion. It would be a poor decision for Jenson if he did, it would just be like his days at Benetton, when he was in the shadow of Fisichella, and that proven to be the wrong move!

    However, the move has not been confirmed and how much I fear for JB, I think Kimi still has the chance to go to McLaren and for JB to stay at the new Brawn team.

  • Comment number 33.

    My 2010 Line-ups

    McLaren: Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld
    Mercedes: Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button
    Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
    Sauber: Giancarlo Fisichella and Romain Grosjean
    Red Bull: Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel
    Toro Rosso: Sebastien Buemi and Jmie Alguersuari
    Lotus: Kayumi Kobayashi and Jarno Trulli
    Renault: Robert Kubica and Timo Glock
    Force India: Adrian Sutil and Viantonio Liuzzi
    Williams: Niko Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello
    Manor: Heikki Kovalainen and Anthony Davidson
    USF1: Scott Speed and Jaques Villeneuves
    Campos: Nelson Piquet Jnr. and Bruno Senna

  • Comment number 34.

    A nd now for something completely different. I have a young grandson, Alex Lloyd, who competed with Lewis up to the time that lack of sponsorship cash made getting a seat pretty well impossible. Eventually, Alex made the US his home and entered and won the junior Indy car series known at the time as Indy Pro. He won because a first years entry in an unknown Race team took the notice of one Sam Schmidt. Sam engaged Alex to race for his team in 2007 where he won setting all sorts of records.

    He was then signed up by Target Ganassi for a team which has won the Indy Car championship on so many occsions. Unfortunately Alex could not get Target to sponsor an additional race car, I have been told how much they sponsor their present two drivers for, its a fantastic sum. The present drivers are Dario Franchitti (winner this year) and Stuart Dixon (New Zealand) winner last year.

    Hopefully Alex may get a contract with Newman Haas for 2010, at the moment its in the lap of the Gods but looking promising. He has sponsorship. If and when he does, with a good car and a good team behind him, maybe he'll be able to supplant Target Ganassi and Penske Racing the two all conquering teams.

    Why mention Alex? Because IMHO he could slot in to Formula 1 no questions asked. When racing in competition with Lewis in Formula Renault, Alex was voted Young Driver of the Year. Regrettably the prize of £75,000 paid for only 3 drives that year. He was chosen to race in A1GP but never got one race. The chosen driver at the time never once won for GB

    If he ever gets the chance to race in Formula 1, expect to be surprised although the money in the US is very good and the likelihood of him taking a chance in F1 has to be queried

  • Comment number 35.

    I think Button should fire his manager as at the moment JB has no drive for next year. My view would be to accept the Mercedes offer on a 1 year deal and then to sit down with new management to work out a career roadmap for the future with time on JB's side.

    I think JB is a very good driver, but he won the championship mainly down to Brawn and the double diffuser and getting lucky with the engine integration from Mercedes. If all the drivers had the same car, would JB have won? Brawn and the new Mercedes team know this and as DC has said in the past, it's 80% car, 20% driver.

    For me Kimi going back to McLaren would be the wrong move for McLaren as Kimi does not show any interest in the sport, just in the money. Yes if he's in the mood, then he is very quick, but do they want to take that chance again?

    Kimi loves his Rally, let him do what he loves, it's not the lack of money holding him back. JB should employ Kimi's management these guys know how to get a great deal for their driver.

    I would say Button will stay at Mercedes for next year, would you bet against Ross Brawn right now?

  • Comment number 36.

    From the point of personal preference, I would have preferred to see Hamilton-Raikkonen at McLaren and Button-Rosberg at Brawn, now Mercedes.

    But the idea of Button at McLaren is not as crazy as it sounds, even looking at it from Jenson's point of view. He has won the World Championship, whatever happens, no-one will be able to take that away from him. So in some respects he doesn't have all that much to lose. If he goes to McLaren and Hamilton beats him, even makes mincemeat of him - not an awful lot will have changed as it seems most people assume that will happen/would have happened anyway. He'll still be 2009 WDC.

    What I'm saying is, this is Button's chance to test himself against a team-mate of top-level quality, which is something he has never had the chance to do. With the exception of a couple of tough rookie years in '00 and '01, he has dispatched every team-mate since Trulli in 2002 with ease - none of them world-class, but some well-respected opposition nonetheless. (Button 14-9 Trulli, Button 12-6 Villeneuve, Button 127-38 Sato, Button 160-118 Barrichello)

    Nobody believes he could be as fast as Hamilton anyway, so Button's got everything to gain by trying to prove us all wrong.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm in two minds over Jen's destination for 2010 and the thought of him being at McLaren fills me with dread. The team that fames itself for having parity does not, and after having his own team built around him going to Hamilton's team would be a bad bad move.

    Saying that, I do get the feeling that he is being pushed out of Brawn - no payrise yet he is the WDC?? Odd to say the least. And at least if he were at McLaren he would have a better car and a chance at retaining his WDC perhaps.

    As for this nonsense about not everyone supporting JB some of us support Lewis.......two years ago no-one supported him bar a few of us, so no complaining now please.........

    So, we could have two Germans in a German team and two Brits in a British team.......very interesting indeed. My money is still on Alonso in a Ferrari though.

  • Comment number 38.

    The move to McLaren may well prove very difficult for Button, against a prolific driver such as Hamilton in a team built around him. But staying at Brawn looks an even worse choice with Mercedes making it very clear they feel they can do without him. When your salary is that low and your owners are showing very little in wanting to keep you, what's to stop them dumping you at any time in the future.

    Lot's of risk for Button going to McLaren, but far more by staying with Brawn. At least they want him and will go to some degree in getting the car as he likes it. And if the worse comes to the worse, at least he will be £4.5M richer for his troubles. Mercedes have spelt things out very clearly and although not made things totally impossible to stay, as close as you could get.

  • Comment number 39.

    #33: I think you're pretty close on the predictions, though in my opinion I can't see Romain Grosjean getting another drive, though Fisi at Sauber makes sense as they are likely to use Ferrari engines. And I'm not sure that a new team like Campos would risk the negative publicity of Piquet - I can either de la Rosa or Marc Gene partnering Senna. As much as I would love to see Kobayashi get a drive, Takuma Sato is a strong possbility for Lotus - though the other Sauber seat would be a possiblity for either too.

    Whatever happens with JB, I think the Mercedes takeover is bad news for him. I can still see a Jenson/Nico line-up, with Heidfeld partnering Hamilton, but would that be any better that McLaren? In a way, Button has already lost 'his' team.

    I do hope Heidfeld gets a good drive though. A very under-rated driver who's quietly missed out on a lot of deals.

    Whatever happens, it promises to be hell of a season...

  • Comment number 40.

    I think if anything the 2010 regulations will suit Button more than Hamilton! Hamilton is known to be very aggressive on his tyres and in 2010 the only pit stops are gonna be for new tyres so this is ultimately going to favour those who can can eek the performance out of the car, but without excessively wearing out the tyres and thus making fewer pit stops. I suppose 2005 when the cars had to last the whole race on one set of tyres is similar, in that it became something of an endurance formula, driving as fast as possible, but yet using the tyres carefully. And the World Champion that year was Alonso, so I expect the 2010 regulations will suit him.

    But back to Button, so if the rumours are true that he's heading to McLaren then it may not be a bad time to be Hamilton's team-mate. But I still think somehow he will stay at the team where he became World Champion!

    2010 F1 Teams & Drivers Predictions:

    Mercedes GP
    1. Button
    2. Rosberg

    Red Bull Racing
    3. Vettel
    4. Webber

    McLaren Mercedes
    5. Hamilton
    6. Raikkonen

    Ferrari
    7. Massa
    8. Alonso

    Williams Cosworth
    9. Barrichello
    10. Hulkenburg

    Renault
    11. Kubica
    12. Glock

    Force India Mercedes
    14. Fisichella
    15. Sutil

    Toro Rosso Ferrari
    16. Buemi
    17. Alguersuari

    USF1 Cosworth
    18. Villeneuve
    19. Sato

    Campos Meta Cosworth
    20. Senna
    21. De La Rosa

    Manor F1 Cosworth
    22. Davidson
    23. Kovalainen

    Lotus Cosworth
    24. Trulli
    25. Kobayashi

    Qadbak Ferrari (Formally BMW Sauber)
    26. Heidfeld
    27. Klien

    So there we go, I expect we’ll see a lot of the teams going for the experienced drivers as opposed to the rookies, given the lack of testing prior to the 2010 season. I think the least likely of those drivers to be correct is Villeneuve, but he is a World Champion and has a lot of experience so maybe he is worth a punt for one of the new teams…time will tell, what does everyone else think?

  • Comment number 41.

    My 2010 Line-ups

    McLaren: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button
    Mercedes: Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld
    Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
    Sauber: Christian Klien and Giancarlo Fisichella
    Red Bull: Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel
    Toro Rosso: Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley
    Lotus: Kamui Kobayashi and Jarno Trulli
    Renault: Robert Kubica and Timo Glock
    Force India: Adrian Sutil and Viantonio Liuzzi
    Williams: Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello
    Manor: Heikki Kovalainen and Anthony Davidson
    USF1: Alexander Wurz and Takuma Sato
    Campos: Jaime Alguersuari and Bruno Senna

  • Comment number 42.

    RobRace raises a fantastic point!!

    no refuelling = tyre wear is key!! the driver who can manage to hold on to his tyres optimum performance for the longest is going to be the one with the greatest performance advantage...on the basis of last season: that will most certainly be JB, with Sutil and Klien following (at least to my memory Klien and Sutil also kept their tyres well at turkey and monaco when others were destroying theirs! feel free tell me to be quiet if im talking rubbish! :P])

    also: we all saw how supreme JB was in a car that was well balanced and running at its optimum, he didnt beat Barichello, in the same equipment, by accident 6 times at the beginning of the year, so I dont think people should be so quick to suggest he's going to be annihilated by Lewis straight from the off. If he can get the McLaren balanced as he wants I have a suspicion that he may well be as quick as Lewis, if not faster!

  • Comment number 43.

    It seems the the latest driver seatings for next year out weighs the hype of Alonso moving to Ferrari.

    McLaren wont take on Heidfeld and if Raikkonen wants his cash which is a factor in his decisions, then Mercedes wont pay his salary let alone Jenson Buttons.

    With all the doubts flying around it's hard to make predictions but, in my opinion it all counts on Button & McLaren, McLaren either will or will not match Raikkonen's deal and Jenson either will or will not stay at Mercedes.
    Mercedes obviously has the cash to pay Button a few million more, so i htink thier calling his bluff for now, but if he move that leaves Raikkonen open who has made his Championship Winning Standards Clear.

    The only other team at the front end with an open seat at this point would be Mecedes (Brawn) but will they pay his salary?
    if he sits this year out expect heidlfeld in a Mercedes, problem is Brawn got the jump on everyone at the satart of the season as they had 18months development time and no one listened to Ross about the rear end grey area (double diffuser). But it's clear their in season development was poor, with McLaren & Ferrari doing best in 2nd half of season.

    This means that going into next year they may be on their back foot with neither Ferrari or McLaren subdued by title fights, they go into next year on development form.
    Red bull proved that despite reliability they can develop a car in season.

    All in all this would be a good line up if the first 4 teams/cars were all competitive. Just look at the stats, taking the below data into account + competitive cars.

    wc = current world champion
    pwc = previos world champion
    rwc = runner up to world champion

    Ferrari: Alonso- pwc + rwc, Massa- rwc
    McLaren: Hamilton- pwc + rwc, Raikkonen- pwc + rwc
    Mercedes: Button- wc, Rosberg
    Red Bull: Vettel- rwc, Webber
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Williams: Barrichello- rwc, Hulkenberg
    Renault: Kubica, Kovalainen
    Manor:
    Lotus: Trulli,
    USF1: Villeneuve,
    Sauber :


    the drivers in the top 4 teams can all be fast, hamiliton, raikkonen, massa, button, alonso, vettel, webber have all shown they can rule the day, but in my opinion the only driver who can rul any given sunday and not just drive fast but go wheel to wheel in a front race battle with other top drivers on similar or slightly slower pace cars and emerge in front are:

    Alonso - Hamilton - Raikkonen - Vettel - Massa

    Ferrai has 2 or them McLaren & Red Bull 1 each so where the other one will go will be an important factor.

  • Comment number 44.

    Sorry but this blog is wrong, I knew it all along, it just had to be.
    It is just something that was always going to happen, and lets face it if one team can have not only the last WC but the current WC sitting in it's cars, then that alone has to bring in loads of sponsoring money.
    This was always going to happen especially in light of the fact that several German drivers are no longer under contract, so the chance for there to be a "Team Germany" and a "Team England" with the same strength weapons had to happen, unless Alonso has the Schumacher touch (i.e. has all the say) these two teams will very probably be the top two next year, what with Mercedes' resources and McClaren's know-how and sponsors.

    I really think though next year one: Brawn/Mercedes GP will not have the luck of one having spent the back half of a season developing a car for the next season (including managing to get the FIA to side with them) and two: we all saw how McLaren "did" the rest of the field in the second half of the season (admittedly mainly due to Hamilton), so I do think that McLaren are the team to beat next season and Brawn/Merc GP will not be able to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat next year, despite Mercedes' resources.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have read all of the posts and agree with comments in most of them. One thing I have to say, that I have not seen mentioned by anyone, is how disappointed I, and I believe many other F1 fans must be, by the way that JB has been treated in this affair. Over the past few years everyone seems to recognise the way that he and RB kept their heads down, their mouths shut and did the best that could, with the rubbish equipment (due in no small part to Nick Fry) they were given. This year both drivers continued to pull together for the benefit of THE TEAM, making considerable financial sacrifices along the way.

    If what we are all assuming is correct, then to be rewarded in this fashion is absolutely disgraceful and the people in charge of these decisions should be ashamed of the way that they treat the very people who have helped them win the World Championship.

    Naive, accepted but if this is the case, then Ross Brawn, Nick Fry and Mercedes Benz have all gone down massively in my estimation!

  • Comment number 46.

    This is interesting, a completely British team. Without mercedes backing Mclaren could be weaker next season but I'm sure Ron Dennis has been preparing for such a situation for a long time. As for Button going into Mclaren, the team where Hamilton won a title and has been raised there since the age of eleven, is risky at the best.

    At the start of the season many people belived that if any of the very quickest drivers got their hands on that they could have lapped the field. I agree with Andrews comment that Hamilton is the out and out quickest on the grid, making Button's transition to Mclaren embarrasing if he consistently peforms behind Hamilton, which given the evidence is very likely.
    Great blog as always.

  • Comment number 47.

    can anybody tell me if a rookie team has come into the championship, won the drivers championship and the constructors championship, then ceased to exist before? It would have been easier for historians if Mercedes had done this last year

  • Comment number 48.

    Car setup aside, there is another good reason why JB should not move to Maclaren: Ross Brawn. If there's a better tactician in F1 then they're definitely hiding their light under a bushel. Also he's a very able manager. Look how he defused the situation with Rubens, who after a couple of bad results (largely of his own makng IMO, and why he will probably never be WCh) was hinting at favouritism towards JB.

    But the crunch is that the Mercedes (nee Brawn) car was a bodged job last year, stuck together with staples and duct tape. It should be a whole lot better this year. Maclaren OTOH have to come to terms with life after Kers.

    Still, it may be that Mercedes want two German drivers, and are making things difficult for JB to stay. In that case he might as well get some moolah.

  • Comment number 49.

    Oh, and to those who say that tyre performance will be king, I need to make a point: if one driver can get away from the field and go fast enough then he'll be able to fit in an extra stop and still win. Tactics will not disappear.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hmm, could be a good move for Button. Throwing the car about Hami style will kill the tyres, a smoother style may pay dividends in 2010 on full tanks.

  • Comment number 51.

    Button is a great driver and generally under-rated, but he does need a car that is sympathetic to his driving style. I would certainly expect Button to get the better of Rosberg in the same car, but not Hamilton. Not only is Hamilton a great driver, but is aggressively competitive and more able to adapt to a less than perfect car. Button should stay with Mercedes for one season before looking for another team. At Mclaren he will really have his work cut out trying to keep up with Hamilton and get a car to his liking. Ask Prost or Hamilton, who both know what it is like to be treated like a No 2 at Mclaren. Not very nice!

  • Comment number 52.

    Correction to my post. "Ask Prost or Hamilton" should obviously read "Ask Prost or Alonso". Now that makes sense eh?

  • Comment number 53.

    I astounded that Fry can say that Mercedes were keen on Brawn because they ran a tight ship, clearly pointing at Button wanting more money. Fry did nothing at BAR, did nothing at BAR Honda, and for him now to be made a very rich man because Brawn came onboard and then cast judgement on Button looking for a pay rise is galling.

    Sure £3 million that Button earned this year is fantastic money for mere mortals, but compared to the rest of the grid it showed his dedication to getting a drive and to the team. Nick Fry never has to face death in his part of the job, Jenson does, and Im sure he could have bunged Jenson a few million for his back pocket from his part of the deal,because without Jenson, would the deal have been done ?

    It seems to me this deal was probably done midway through the season, when it was apparent Jenson would probably win the DC, may explain his dip in form and Barrichello getting moody from then on.

    I can understand Ross Brawn selling the team for backing, lets not forget the drivers who got the team where they were, the staff who lost their jobs at the start of the year, and the fans who splashed out on the Brawn merchandise

  • Comment number 54.

    Rosberg and Raikkonen at Mercedes? I hadn't thought of that combination before...but I think although Kimi and Macca are each others' first choices, we will see the Finn go the way of compatriot Mika Hakkinen and take a "sabbatical" which he will not return from.

    All credit to Button if he goes to McLaren and it's not just for the money, to have the guts to go against Hamilton, though it'll be a challenge too far I reckon, though perfect from Hamilton's point of view, as Button is unlikely to beat Lewis on the day but can be counted on to finish ahead of his other rivals when Hamilton needs Jenson to.

  • Comment number 55.

    If Button goes to McLaren I think he'll be beaten by Hamilton and it'll be like Alonso/Hamilton all over again.

    After Turkey, Jenson was complaining about having a rubbish car ("How can this car be so bad at the moment??") and doing badly. Lewis, even in a bad car still raced well (see Melbourne). That's the difference.

    Also, #40, If your prediction is right and the title follows the current trend (British driver in car 22), Anthony Davidson will be the World Champion next year...

    It's by no means impossible - a similar thing just happened... ;)

  • Comment number 56.

    This is confusing!!

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't see Raikkonen in a mclaren ,it makes no sense, he seems one of those drivers that can go off the boil during a race weekend and then post some really quick laps when it is too late to affect the outcome of a race,much like his countryman Hakkinen.Button's smooth style may just suit a car full of fuel early on saving plenty of tyre performance for the later part of the race.

  • Comment number 58.


    What does the Mercedes buy-out of Brawn ... mean?

    Mediocrity! Welcome to 'Honda 2.0'.

    If Button can't get a seat @ Mclaren, he would do fine @ Williams alongside Barrichello or @ Force India - which can afford to pay him.

    Button will be competitive against Hamilton (no KERS) and with heavier cars. Whether at McLaren or elsewhere.

  • Comment number 59.

    2010 F1 Teams & Drivers Predictions:

    Mercedes GP
    1. Button
    2. Rosberg

    Red Bull Racing
    3. Vettel
    4. Webber

    McLaren Mercedes
    5. Hamilton
    6. Heidfeld

    Ferrari
    7. Massa
    8. Alonso

    Williams Cosworth
    9. Barrichello
    10. Hulkenburg

    Renault
    11. Kubica
    12. Kovalainen

    Force India Mercedes
    14. Sutil
    15. Luizzi

    Toro Rosso Ferrari
    16. Buemi
    17. Alguersuari

    USF1 Cosworth
    18. Villeneuve
    19. Speed

    Campos Meta Cosworth
    20. Senna
    21. De La Rosa

    Manor F1 Cosworth
    22. Davidson
    23. Glock

    Lotus Cosworth
    24. Trulli
    25. Kobayashi

    Sauber
    26. Fisichella
    27. Klien

    Question to be answered by anyone. If Kimi doesn't get a drive for 2010 in Formula One, but ends up with a seat on WRC, will Ferrari pay all of the money or what they would have done if he had found a drive?

  • Comment number 60.

    I like the look of the driver lineup that LegendaryDaggers predicted earlier, but I think Kovalainen and Fisichella deserve race seats, even if they are at smaller teams. I'd like to see an epic championship battle between Button and Hamilton that should prove once and for all who the better driver is. Hamilton should be faster but there could be less between them than a lot of people think there is.

  • Comment number 61.

    My thoughts are that Kimi won't race next year - his only real option is Toyota and I think he'd rather race boats or eskimos than a slow car.

    Jenson should and will go to McLaren. He can beat Lewis - and I think he has the confidence now that he didn't have before but that Lewis has always had. Talk of the car being set up and designed for Lewis are wide of the mark- It is contra intuitive to have a modern F1 car sliding around at the back like LH likes - the days of Jim Clarke are long gone.

    All the cars are designed with a touch of u/s it just makes sense, Hamilton will probably out qualify JB but just as Alain Prost was beaten on the Saturday but still won the Championship on the Sunday - JB can win races from P2 or P3 on the grid. He's smoother and less prone to mistakes. How many times have you ever seen JB stack the car during a race?

    I think McLaren will have the best car come Race 1 and with two different but also very good drivers it should be an exceptional year. That said, my money is on Alonso winning R1 a la Nigel Mansell in 1989, but the Spaniard and Massa won't be close come the end of the season in my opinion - Vettel - Hamilton - Button in no particular order.

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.

    :( was really hoping Kimi would get the second seat at McLaren. I still like Jenson. But given that fact he has been at BAR/Honda/Brawn for so long. I think he might find it difficult adjusting.

    That being said I wish him well whatever he ends up doing.

  • Comment number 64.

    By the way, has no one else commented on what a good deal Mercedes are geting? A €350 million operation two years ago for what? Perhaps a third of that? They get their own team, already with a championship win already for a maximum of just a hundred million Euro discounted essentially from Honda - an extra coup in itself!

    They were never likely to get the same sort of deal from Ron or Martin at McLaren and the grey colour for McLaren Mercedes - West was never quite the same as the silver arrows they they clearly wish to resurrect.



  • Comment number 65.

    B&H? ...seems like a certain tobacco firm would be interested in this partnership. Wonder if we'll see a gold McClaren next year too. Also reading about the drivers (Hamilton & Button) different driving styles reminds of Senna & Prost, didn't they both drive for Williams, can't remember how successful a partnership that was, if it ever was... but wasn't it a dream team in the making? And isn't this then?

  • Comment number 66.

    with the predictions, how can fisi drive for sauber when he is contracted as ferraris reserve driver? people have obviously forgotten that one havent they

    with kimi apparantly going to be paid MORE if he takes a year out will only confirm the rumours that he has 'lost interest and desire' etc, if he decides to take a year out, which would only be for the money, even it is only a year it will be hard for him to come back into a top team, if a driver really loves driving hed get a drive, if kimi does take a sabbatical its f1 career over i think

    and whether JB stays at merc or goes to mclaren he will still be up there fighting for wins and podiums, fans will still be happy, id prefer JB to stay at merc (brawn, w\e) though because it is inevitable that LH will always be the favourite at mclaren whoever partners him

  • Comment number 67.

    and lol at the complete ignoring at post #34

  • Comment number 68.

    Apparently Fisi said at one point that if he got an offer of a race seat he would consider it...

  • Comment number 69.

    Prost and Senna both drove , infamously, for McLaren. Won 15 out of 16 races in one season between them then both drove separately for Williams. Prost winning a Championship and Senna later losing his life at Imola.

    A dream team in the making?

    No. It made Hamilton/Alonso a couple of years ago look like kids stuff. They took each other out in the the last race of the season in consecutive years.

    Even when Senna dies Prost refused to give up on the competition between the two so fierce was it. Google it.

  • Comment number 70.

    This is well wide of the mark and is simply a rehash of every other story today. If Heidfeld was going to Brawn it would have been announced today. The fact that it wasn't suggests that it never will.

  • Comment number 71.

    I find it amazing that noone except ( I think DC or EJ or was it Ecclestone himself ) has paid any attention to the fact that Honda basically subsidised Brawn all last season and and GAVE AWAY all the facilities in Britain to Brawn to enable the team to keep going and the majority of people to keep their jobs.
    I find it incredible that noone in the Brawn organisation has drawn attention to this fact and publicly thanked them ... Now Ross Brawn has sold out to Mercedes a team for untold millions that he did not even lay out any cash to buy ,... talk about an opportunist !!
    Good luck to JB next year against Hamilton ... at least JB and family laid out their cash to get to the top and were not nurtured through the ranks at every step .. But Lewis is a terrific and entertaining driver and I just hope the team give them an equal shot ..

  • Comment number 72.

    McLaren is now definitely a Hamilton team. Had Alonso stayed I don't think it would be, but how can it not be when he has so clearly led the team and demolished his team mate for 2 seasons? The fact that Button would have Number 1 on his car wouldn't matter a jot.

    I think, if possible, Button should stay at Mercedes GP; if they don't give him a bit extra money it would be a bit unreasonable, seeing as most world champions of the last 20 years have been rewarded. It seems he could be he victim of pro-German policy here, wouldn't be the first time R.Brawn had been associated with that. Don't think Merc would mind Raikkonen though, given he drove Mercedes powered cars from 2002 to 2006.

    I think theres 3 realistic outcomes here:
    1.Button to McLaren, Raikkonen to Mercedes, Glock/Heidfeld to Renault
    2. Button at Mercedes, Raikkonen to McLaren, Glock/Heidfeld to Renault
    3. Button to McLaren, Raikkonen to Renault/ Glock/Heidfeld at Mercedes, the 1 that misses out goes to Lotus or Manor.

    But imagine if Button ended up at Lotus and won first year with them too! Unlikely, but never hurts to dream...

  • Comment number 73.

    Does anyone honestly think that Mercedes will provide McLaren with the same engine they will be running in their own car? It will be just like Ferrari a few years back supplying teams with last years model.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think Jenson should go to McLaren....although I find it incredible the offer of only 7 to 8 mill Sterling....,and he brings the No 1 with him.Brawn being tight with the WC,....no excuse...He won the title....
    I think Jenson will be a whole new driver....and will surprise many....
    If he goes to McLaren,I believe he will be fighting for the title again,and will fight with Lewis....
    Good luck Jens...prove 'em wrong again....You did once,do it again...

  • Comment number 75.

    So, Mercedes are back as a works team for the first time since 1955. Great. This will probably put to bed the suggestions that Formula 1 is on it's knees because Toyota followed BMW out of the sport. Ferrari aside, I don't care which teams compete as long as the grids are full and there is some fantastic racing.

    Now, back to Mercedes. Apparently they want an all German line-up. Rosberg is 99% there, but I would like to throw another name into the mix. I am amazed that nobody has suggested it yet.

    Michael Schumacher.

    It nearly happened this year and that near-return has undoubtedly given him itchy feet. Ferrari would like to field a third car for him. Not going to happen. But he must feel like a comeback for them to even suggest such a thing. Whenever he is asked about a possible comeback, he always refuses to rule out the possibility.

    He didn't return this year because of his neck and said that it would need a greater recovery time to compete. Instead of three weeks, there are now four months until Bahrain. He must fancy it. It must also be the only team, other than Ferrari, that he would even contemplate racing for.

    Other reasons why he could return.
    1. He must relish the chance to work with Ross Brawn again.
    2. Mercedes will want an immediate return on their investment.
    3. He would hit the ground running to lead the team - Rosberg is still unproven at this level.
    4. There is no-one better to develop the car and take the team forward.
    5. Brilliant advertising for Mercedes.
    6. Gives the team their all-German line-up.

    Schumacher in a Silver Arrows? Yes please!

  • Comment number 76.

    26. At 5:54pm on 16 Nov 2009, biglewisfan wrote:

    "The bias with which British journalists write about Hamilton and Button is absolutely astounding. It is like Button is “our boy” and Hamilton “the other one”. It makes me sick. Not every British person is a Button fan you know.

    Look at this article: Button prefers a car “which he can control with his delicate application of throttle and brakes” – gosh a more fawning and biased description of driving styles I don’t think one could have."

    Please do not shout bias when your user name is Biglewisfan... That quotation from the article is exactly that, a description. It is well known Button is one of the smoothest and most delicate drivers, this is not to say he is better it is just a fact. Hamilton and Alonso 'throw' cars around more, doesn't make them any less of a talent. Infact although I am a Button fan I believe Hamilton to be the quicker driver.

    Try an informed, reasoned arguement next time and people may respond better.

  • Comment number 77.

    I still don't understand why Alonso is so highly rated in an F1 car - he was admittedly fantastic when he went up against Schumacher, but the benchmark of a great driver is hoe they perform without a decent car. Alonso has done absolutely nothing this year, and last year only really won one race because renault cheated in the other. At McLaren in 2007, he was a petulent child who couldnt take not being the best in his team, and should have done better with what was undoubtably the fastest car.

    Its a huge shame to see the Brawn GP team disappear. They really made F1 interesting this year, doubttful that we'll ever see such an underdog story again. Buttoon + Hamilton at McLaren is an intersting combination, definitely glad to have a British team with two British drivers at the top end of the grid. And McLaren will have got rid of Norbert Haug, a thoroughly unpleasant bloke. My guess is that Button will have to play second fiddle at McLaren to the wunderkind Lewis, but I still expect him to be competitive next year, hopefully challenging for the world title again.

    @aj, post 66: Fisichella is contractually signed to Ferrari, but Luca di Montezemelo has said that he is welcome to drive for another team in 2010 if he gets ann offer, and then rejoining Ferrari as a test driver (they already have Schumacher and Badoer, who despite his F1 results has done brilliant things at Ferrari)

    Lotus have signed a driver, but will not reveal who it is. My moneys on Trulli, but is there a chance Kobayashi could get that other seat? Takuma Sato also rumoured to make a 2010 comeback. Very excited to see Villeneuve contemplating a comeback, same with De La Rosa who was fantastic when he filled in at McLaren a few years back. Think he might have even got a podium.

    Finally, I hope Romain Grosjean doesnt get a drive next year. He is slow, uncharismatic, and an underperformer. I can't see him being a star of the future; Kobayashi or Alguersuari on the other hand, maybe.

  • Comment number 78.

    personally think ferrari have made a mistake letting kimi go and keeping massa. massa injured and might not be the same driver when he returns. whereas kimi isn't and he has been putting up performances and been on the podium and even won a race in a sub standard car. Kimi is also known for being if not the fastest driver equal with hamilton. massa is a safe driver but it his almost championship yr he showed he doesn't have the bottle to be world champion all the times he let hamilton overtake him he just isn't aggressive enough whereas kimi is. kimi is also a world champion and a race winner. he's won alot more races than massa and when kimi hot there is no stopping him. imagine a alonso-kimi combo. the only reason i can think why they went with massa was they are going to put all there efforts into fernando alonso and massa is just gonna be similar figure to that of barrichello and schumacher

  • Comment number 79.

    "you would not find many people in F1 who fancied his [Button's] chances of beating Hamilton in the same car." Button won the title because his car was vastly superior for the first 7 races, taking the last ten races he'd have finished sixth in the second best car. If Rosberg is going to Mercedes he needs to move... Hamilton is at McLaren... to avoid embarrassment from his team mate he shold follow Rubens to wherever he's going... no wait, Barrichello outscored him over those ten races too. Let's just hope that wherever he goes, he has that arrogance surgically removed; heads shouldn't well like that.

  • Comment number 80.

    If you think Button/'s move to McLaen is a bad one then your an idiot I'm afraid.

    It's the best possible outcome for him in so many ways and it probably suits McLaren, Mercedes and Brawn down to the ground as well.

    McLaren first, they appear to have a straight choice betwen Button and Raikkonnen. Undoubtedly Raikkonnen potentially is the faster and better of the two, when motivated, he is a top level driver which will give them the air of going 100% for it next season and is capable of getting results that are better than his car, he is also not too far from Hamilton's driving style. The risk there though is his inconsistency. Button on the other hand is a safe choice, not on the same level as Kimi potentially but you know that with Button you will always get the result that the car is worth AND he will cost half what Kimi is asking, the only problem is the driving style issue with regards to car development, but Button has proven before that even in a car not suited to him he can get good results on race day, it's qualifying where it hits him. So for McLaren it's great to have a choice and going with Button will surely be the safer option.

    For Brawn, they are going to find it hugely difficult to continue at the same level, even with Ross saying they are ahead in development. Unless Mercedes are willing to invest Hnda type money in re-establishing the size and scope of the team ASAP I see them struggling to keep pace with developments again next year. Having what will be a new outfit on the grid will give them somewhat of an excuse for any under-performance and the ability to use the line "we're building a team here" could be useful for them. Longer term of course it benefits them, the team just could not sustain it's levels of operation without some kind of but-out, most of the sponsorship it did get was off the back of good will early on and Button being so far ahead at the end. They couldn't rely on either for 2010 so finding a buyer was the only option.

    Mercedes were stuck in a difficult spot. I'm sure that their #1 choice was to pair Button and Rosberg. Nico deserves the chance to show his talent in a top car, but ideally he should be doing that without the add burden of being the lead driver to begin with, if you consider all the current top drivers they all got their chances in top cars as a second driver at first (Hamilton with Alonso, Massa with Schumacher, Alonso with Trulli, Vettel with Webber and Raikkonnen with Coulthard). Yes Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel all arguably became #1 drivers throughout their first season, but none of them started the year with that pressure as they had experienced team mates. They can sign Heidfeld who has a lot of experience if they want but he would be just as much a junior at that level as Rosberg would be. Their problem was not not wanting Button but tht they do not want to offer him a multi-year deal. They obviously have eyes on Vettel in 2011 or 2012 to partner Rosberg and that meant that they probably only offered Button a guarenteed 1 year deal, which considering everything this season and the position in his career would not be what he was after at all. Him going to McLaren saves Merc face in many ways bcause he will still be diving one of their engined cars and they can rightly point out that McLaren hav the kind of budget to afford him whereas Brawn did not.

    Lastly Button, I touched on this already but 2009 was obviously a career year for him, he will almost certainly never get a better chance to secure a top long term deal with one of F1's best teams and I think that the lngth of contract and the team it's with is far more important to him than the sheer wage scale. I think your figures are the wrong way around myself. Button wants £8m from Brawn because they will not give him a long deal whereas he will take £6m from McLaren on a 3-4 year contract (he would probably accept the same at Brawn bu they wont offer it). So what if he finds himself unable to match Hamilton's pace? It's unliekly that he will be able to match him in the Brawn either and as stated I think he will finish higher in the McLaren. It's also his chance to test himself against one of the best, even today the fact that he never had a proper top level team mate is brought up against Schumacher in debates after all.

    No sorry, Button to McLaren is best for all concerned other than funnily enough Rosberg because I do worry about whether he can lead a team and learn at the top at the same time.

  • Comment number 81.

    "you would not find many people in F1 who fancied his [Button's] chances of beating Hamilton in the same car." Button won the title because his car was vastly superior for the first 7 races, taking the last ten races he'd have finished sixth in the second best car. If Rosberg is going to Mercedes he needs to move... Hamilton is at McLaren... to avoid embarrassment from his team mate he shold follow Rubens to wherever he's going... no wait, Barrichello outscored him over those ten races too. Let's just hope that wherever he goes, he has that arrogance surgically removed; heads shouldn't well like that.
    -----------
    Apart from the first line thats a load of twaddle mate.

    You cant take the last 10 races in isolation for so many reasons, Button did not need to drive balls to the wall in those races to win the championship so he didnt, when he needed to take risks and be fast he did so, driving at 100% all the time leads to errors, just look at Hamilton for an example of that, not that Lewis can be faultd for it, in his situation it was the right thing, it's all about context.

    The Brawn team stopped developing the car, RBR and McLaren (which were both better than the Brawn so where you got second best car from is anyones guess) did not, the development they did do skewed the car more in Rubens favour than Buttons, again the right decision at the time for the constructors title.

    As for arrogance, sorry I jsut don't see it. Button has been nothing but gracious whenever he comments on anything about the season, if your talking about holding out for better pay, of course he is and rightly so. He is a world champion now, his team are no smaller than they were when Honda were backing them now they have Merc on board and he is asking for less than he earned with the same outfit two years ago.

  • Comment number 82.

    I still don't understand why Alonso is so highly rated in an F1 car - he was admittedly fantastic when he went up against Schumacher, but the benchmark of a great driver is hoe they perform without a decent car. Alonso has done absolutely nothing this year, and last year only really won one race because renault cheated in the other. At McLaren in 2007, he was a petulent child who couldnt take not being the best in his team, and should have done better with what was undoubtably the fastest car.
    ----------
    No pleasing some people is there? Alonso managed that victory in 2008 and a decent set of results in 2009 with an absolute travesty of a car and while working for one of the most inconsistent outfits in F1. Yes he was petulent in his McLaren year and in the way he left but to question his driving ability shows a significant lack of knowledge on your part. He has consistently pulled the Renault to results it should have never been getting in his two years back there.

  • Comment number 83.

    Wait, I'm a bit lost on all these random 2010 driver line ups that are appearing? Is it a well known fact that Sauber are 100% part of the grid for next season?? I haven't seen any offical announcement, just the assumption that they would fill the void left by Toyota.

    As for the whole Mercedes thing...Where does that leave Mclaren?? Does it mean in a few years time they will have to get a new engine supplier. It does seem a very long way off but I can only keep my fingers crossed for some kind of Honda partnership like that of the one back in the late 80's that brought them so much success.

    Plus I can't see why Button is even considering Mclaren. Sure it would be cool to have two British drivers in a British team but the whole team revolves around Hamilton, and I think this would see Lewis eclipse Jenson easily.

  • Comment number 84.

    Jenson Button could potentialy ruin Lewis Hamilton`s career if he goes to Mclaren,as we could have another Alonso - Hamilton.

    Button was given a chance by Ross Brawn to sign quickly before Mercedes came and bought nearly all of Brawn(75%).

    Next year i can see Button finish 14th and Lewis winning the race.

    And i don`t personally like Button either

  • Comment number 85.

    Very intresting read, I am hoping Button joins alongside Hamilton for 2010, although it might not be the best move for Button I would become a bigger Mclaren fan if that was to happen.

    I am supportive of Rosberg and really hope he is driving a front running car next year, I think he is the most underated driver in the lineup. The last 4 years he's been driving for Williams a team that haven't exactly been on form since 04' even this year the car may have been the 3rd quickest at one point but it quickly dropped down the list.

  • Comment number 86.

    #75 Now that would be a headline! Great post.

  • Comment number 87.

    @HackerJack. I do see your point in McLaren being a good move for JB, but in my opinion this is only as a result of the Mercedes take-over. If Brawn had remained Brawn, and 'Jenson's' team, then he would have been crazy to move. Now however, it's a different story.

    And also good replies to some of the nonsensical comments posted previously.

    And as for #34 and #67, I remember Alex Lloyd racing in the junior categories and he is no doubt a talented driver. Nobody whats to see talent lose out to a lack of finance so I can only wish him the best of luck for 2010.

  • Comment number 88.

    JB - Disappointed if you leave Brawn because, putting the money to one side, the team provided you with a winning car. This world championship provides opportunity to more than make up the pay gap through sponsorship.

    Double disappointment if you join McLaren - they're the wrong car and wrong culture for you imho. They will side with Hamilton too.

    Thanks for an entertaining 2009 season!

  • Comment number 89.

    The above 87 posts are all very interesting, but what everybody wants to know is what number Lewis will race with...

    Can't see him wearing No.'2' behind Jenson's No.1 can you?

    Will he do a Damon Hill '0'?

  • Comment number 90.

    Interesting note on the driving styles of Hamilton and Button.
    Next year will see cars with longer wheelbases so they can accommodate the race fuel. This should (in theory) lead to a car that is more likely to understeer, that is unless you tweak the geometry of the suspension to allow the front to turn in quiker – the pay back of this would be that the car would scrub its tyres faster.
    I belive that Hamilton will modify his style in order to take account of the change in dynamics of hte car and tis would bring him closer to Buttons style of driving.

  • Comment number 91.

    My comment @1@ I meant Massa sorry about that typeing error. Glock gone to Manor GP

  • Comment number 92.

    This all sounds fun for 2010, would it be tooo! ridiculous to suggest schumacher for Mercedes?

  • Comment number 93.

    A lot of people seem to be writing Button off rather too soon, a few facts to consider...

    1 - for 2010 we have no refuelling (and how long before we no longer have tyre changes too...?)
    2 - longer wheelbase cars that may not be quite so easy for drivers such as Lewis to throw around (especially with a full load of fuel)
    3 - no more KERS systems

    So a few questions....

    1 - will Lewis be able to modify his style of driving to suit?
    2 - will Jenson's super smooth approach work better with a heavy car, and help him preserve his tyres?
    3 - how good will the Brawn/Mercedes be for 2010, as it will be properly designed from scratch to accept the Mercedes engine etc? (see one of AB's recent blogs....)
    4 - if Jenson does move from Brawn to McLaren, will it be a good move?

    Further to rich2010's comment "Will he (Lewis) do a Damon Hill '0'?"
    I don't see that as a possibility - Williams had won the constructers title & drivers title with Mansell in 92, Mansell then went over to Indy Cars for 93, so the F1 World Champion was not racing in F1 in 93, and therefore no one to carry the number '1'.
    If Jenson goes to McLaren, then their cars will be numbers 1 & 2, with Jenson number '1'....

  • Comment number 94.

    Well the blog post pretty much says everything I would have.
    They are too very different drivers. Button likes a smooth drive and Hamilton likes to fight his car.

    The difference between the two is so great, that you might end up with a car of blamange. They don't really compliment each other as drivers, and I can't see Button being overly happy about being the number 2 driver, regardless of the number on his car.

  • Comment number 95.

    to those who cannot see that hamilton has developed into one of the all time greats I would say ...try opening your eyes
    over the last 50 years I have watched drivers attain very high standards , but it is rare for one to have the combination of mental and physical characteristics that are required to be all time greats , maybe once in 10 years
    when he proved to be just as fast as alonso in his first year , I wondered ...frankly I was delighted that kimi squeezed past him , both because I felt that kimi deserved it , and secondly because he would [ hopefully] learn more from his rookie mistakes ...I imagine even ron dennis was shocked at how fast he was

    second season , less mistakes , still learning

    this season , a great lesson for him , that car must have been the worst on the grid at the beginning of the season , but personally I felt that to be A GOOD THING , a terrible shock for him , but an object lesson

    so , for me , he is already ...as near as makes no difference ...the finished article

    he could even be as good as jimmy clark in the end , and if you listened to the other drivers of that era you would realise that jimmy was in a category of his own ; I just hope hamilton continues to be provided with competitive cars

  • Comment number 96.

    A lot of interesting opinions, and for what it is worth mine are that:-

    You'll have to correct me if I'm wrong, but surely Jenson is currently World Champion, therefore, over the 17 races (not the 10 someone was mentioning re: Barrichello) he was the best. Barrichello, while a good driver is the most experienced driver in the field....yet has not won a world championship. Jenson won the championship on points, but would also have won it under Bernie Ecclestones attempts at making it fairer with most wins. To win with a race left and by 11 points sound pretty good to me, and that despite only getting 5 points in Malaysia for a race he would have probably also won if it had gone full distance. In fact he would have probably won the championship a race earlier if that race had done. After all Hamilton, had to rely on a last lap pass in the rain, and Raikkonen on the arguements between the McClaren team mates!

    Must say, the stick he is getting seems eeriely reminiscent of the comments Damon Hill used to get

    We are all interested in money, and I am sure Jenson is no different, but in the past he has shown he is more interested in being in a good car than the amount of money on offer, did't he buy himself out of a contract a number of years back to stay with a team.....might not have been the right decision, but not sure that shows he is after money. And to my mind that goes for being in Brawn last year, by taking the pay cut.

    I hope he ends up at McClaren, and while I agree that Lewis is arguably the best racer around, it will be interesting to see how the two get on and how their driving styles differ in similar cars.

    As for this being the most exciting season since Michael Schumacher retired, I agree that he was a great driver, but you would have to include most of the seasons he was around in that statement, certainly at Ferrari, as it was some of the most boring racing I have watched, or more accurately stopped watching!

    Raikkonen is another great driver to which his world championship attests, but can't say I would greatly miss him being around next year if that is what happens. And I think if anyone could be said to follow the money, then he would have to be considered.

    The great thing with this season in particular and looking forward to next year, is that no one really knows what is going to happen, a year of upheaval this year has completely changed the grid and those you expect to be running at the front. The big two look to be on their way back and you would expect Red Bull, in particular Vettel to remain there or there abouts but who knows, so it's going to be interesting. As for Mercedes, who would bet against Ross Brawn, certainly Brawn looked to struggle

    In my opinion it has been one of the best seasons for years and am looking forward to it all starting again in March.

  • Comment number 97.

    I think this move would be a big mistake for Button, and a shame for F1 in general. As you point out Jensen will be leaving a team that will presumably provide him with a car suited to his driving style, whereas McLaren will provide him with a chassis inherently suited to Hamilton's love of over-steer. It is hard to imagine Jensen getting the upper hand on Lewis to often.

    The second problem with Jensens move is that it will almost certainly spell the end of Kimi Raikkonens F1 career. He has publicly stated that McLaren is the oinly place he would go. Now I'm sure if the money was right Kimi would happily partner Brawn at Mercedes GP, but that is a big if given the sort of cash Kimi is no doubt demanding. To me the loss of Raikkonen would be massive. I cannot understand why the media has not made more of it. He is undoubtedly one of the fastest guys around... it seems to me that on his day he is untouchable, and while his performances are sometimes lacking, I suspect a lot of that is down to him not being given the car in which to shine. He also has a wonderful no nonsense approach harking back to the good old days of motorsport.

    Id love to see Button stay with Brawn where he will have a real chance to continue shining, and then maybe, just maybe McLaren will stump up the cash for Kimi. Hamilton v Raikkonen in the same car... Now that surely would be a spectacle!

  • Comment number 98.

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm very dissapointed with Ross Brawn and Nick Fry. I thought we had a new British team - no it's a new German team. Hence, I understand Jenson wishing to move on. At first the thought of being Lewis's team mate was a big worry. I regard Lewis as the best. But at least Jenson will find out and will have a good car next year. Better than being beaten by a German driver really.

  • Comment number 100.

    Please sign my petition to save the British F1 race at:

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BritishF1race/

    Also join the Facebook: Save the British F1 race.

    Thanks

 

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