Button and Alonso finally announced as McLaren drivers for 2015
Jenson Button fans have had to wait a long time to hear the news, but the 2009 world champion has been confirmed as one half of McLaren’s drivers for the 2015 season. He is 18/1 with Coral for his second title next year.
As was always expected, double Drivers’ Championship winner Fernando Alonso (10/1 for the 2015 title) will be in the other seat, meaning Button’s former teammate, Kevin Magnussen, makes way. The rookie Dane, though, will remain on McLaren’s books as the reserve and test driver.
Following the announcement, Button, who gained 126 points last season (compared to Magnussen’s 55 and Alonso’s 161), said: “I am extremely excited to be embarking on my 16th year in Formula 1 and my sixth season for McLaren.
“I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but, for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy. The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to Grand Prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since.
“Being a part of new-look McLaren-Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go.”
McLaren’s decision finally puts to rest all the speculation, and now all the teams have confirmed their line-up for next season. They are 7/1 second-favourites, behind Mercedes (odds-on at 1/5), to win the Constructors’ Championship.
Team chairman Ron Dennis said: “We signed Fernando a little while ago, but we decided not to announce the fact until we had also re-signed Jenson as his teammate.
“For many reasons our negotiations with Jenson took quite a long time but, now that they have been concluded, we are confident that our collaboration with him will continue to thrive in the future every bit as well as it has in the past. Make no mistake about it, Jenson is 100 per cent committed to McLaren-Honda, to Formula 1 and to winning.
“As a pair, he and Fernando are supremely experienced. I can safely say, therefore, that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team.”
Dennis may have a case about that final sentence, with only McLaren and Alonso’s former team Ferrari (Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen) being able to boast two world champion drivers for next season.
Alonso, who is reportedly on a lucrative two-year, with an option for a third, contract, said on the announcement: “I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.
“Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest. But, more than a year ago, McLaren-Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula 1 scene for so long.
“McLaren-Honda’s repeated and open desire, perseverance and determination in making it possible for me to join their exciting renewed partnership, have been some of the main factors that made me take this decision, not forgetting the most important factor of all: we share a common objective and expectations, and there is a very solid future, with confidence, ahead.”
Coral are offering special odds for Button in the 2015 season, with a tempting 14/1 for him to win at Silverstone. He is 16/1 to top the podium in four or races, or 8/1 for three victories and 5/1 for two.