McLaren has confirmed that Jenson Button has been chosen as Fernando Alonso’s partner for the 2015 Formula One season.
McLaren had been undecided over who should partner the Spaniard, who has joined the team from Ferrari, and they took several months to make their decision.
Ron Dennis, McLaren’s chairman, had previously insisted that they would announce who would be partnering Alonso by the conclusion of the Formula One season. However, they then announced that they would be delaying their decision until the beginning of December.
In fact, even the revelation that Jenson Button had pipped his 2014 team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, to the position was over a week later than expected.
22-year-old Magnussen had been the favorite over Button for the grid spot. The Danish racer, who will stay on at McLaren as a test and reserve driver, earns considerably less than Button, and with Alonso having been offered a contract worth around $40 million a year it was believed that this would be the crucial factor in their decision.
However, Button finished the season much stronger than his peer and it looks as though the 34-year-old’s final races of the 2014 season were what convinced McLaren he still had enough talent to exceed at this level. Button is believed to have halved his wages in order to continue driving in Formula One.
Speaking about the announcement, Button, who won the 2009 Formula 1 world championship, declared that he was “raring to go.”
“I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go.”
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso also spoke about his excitement for the new season. However, he admitted that he is well aware that success won’t come instantly. McLaren will start 2015 with a brand-new Honda engine, and in the past they won four consecutive titles when they had such power in their chassis.
Alonso revealed that he doesn’t expect to add to his duo of world championships in 2015, however, he does expect to be challenging in the very near future.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Ron Dennis confidently declared that McLaren now has the best driving partnership in Formula One.
“Fernando and Jenson have started a combined total of precisely 500 grands prix between them — a mighty aggregate — and have won 47 of them. 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.”
[Image via FanPop]