McLaren Confirms Alonso, Keeps Button
15 December 2014 - Autoblog
Every year a big game of musical chairs breaks out in the Formula One paddock, as some drivers try to hold on to their seats, some try to grab new ones and others are left without a seat for the following season.
McLaren has been extremely reluctant to announce who would be sitting in its carbon-fiber seats next season, but it's finally spilled the beans.
McLaren was strongly rumored to have hired Fernando Alonso for next season, speculation over which was all but confirmed when the two-time world champion announced his departure from Ferrari. He's now been officially confirmed to be returning to Woking for next season. But the bigger question over who would be his wingman has now been answered as well, as the team has decided to keep Jenson Button on board for at least one more season.
Long regarded as a top driver, Button started out with Williams back in 2000, then spent a couple of seasons in Enstone with Renault before switching to Honda in 2003, finally winning the championship in 2009 when the team went out on its own as Brawn GP (now Mercedes). He switched to McLaren in 2010 to form a dream team with Lewis Hamilton (who in turn left for Mercedes last year), but though Jenson has been unable to rack up another world title, he's remained a favorite especially of Honda's, which returns to F1 next season to rekindle its once-dominant engine-supply partnership with McLaren.
Alonso, meanwhile, made his grand prix debut with Minardi (now Toro Rosso) just one year after Button, then switched to Renault first as a test driver and then got the race seat, winning back-to-back world championships in 2005 and 2006. He subsequently spent one tumultuous season alongside Hamilton at McLaren before going back to Renault and then to Ferrari, which which he spent five years, scoring eleven checkered flags to finish in second place in the standings, three times.
Alonso's signing and Button's retention spell bad news for Kevin Magnussen, the young Danish driver who got his start with McLaren earlier this season after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title last year. With all the other seats already spoken for, Magnussen was left with no choice but to accept a test-driver role with McLaren in the hope that he might be promoted back again in the future.