F1 Winter Break
Button commits future to McLaren
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Oct 2011   |  11:09 am GMT  |  136 comments

Jenson Button has committed himself to a long term contract at McLaren, ruling out a move any time soon to any of the team’s rivals. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh describes him as “one of the most capable and respected drivers we’ve ever had.”

Button is in the form of his life at the moment, lying second in the drivers’ world championship, with a chance to become the first F1 team mate to beat Lewis Hamilton in the points standings – he is currently 17 points ahead – and he is thoroughly enjoying his racing. He’s stood on the podium nine times in 14 races including two top drawer wins in Canada and Hungary.

Although he’d enquired about a seat at Red Bull and was on Ferrari’s radar, Button always said that his preferred option was to stay at McLaren. He was hoping for a better deal financially than the one he signed when he left Brawn in 2009 and now the situation has been resolved in a multi-year deal. “Multi-year” means more than two, but doesn’t specify how long. There will be options and clauses for when he stops racing and becomes an ambassador for the expanding McLaren brand and particularly the road car operation.

Button speaks enthusiastically about the new deal, but its noticeable that he does not say that he will finish his career at McLaren, leaving the door open, in other words. He will not however be part of the driver merry go round which is likely to take place this time next year with possible seats at Ferrari and Red Bull coming up, as well as Mercedes. Massa, Webber and Schumacher all have deals expiring at the end of 2012.

“I’ve never felt more at home at a team than I do at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” said Button. “I’ve won four of the greatest races of my life here, I’m currently lying second in the drivers’ world championship, and I feel that I’m driving better than ever.

“You can only achieve that with the right level of support – and I truly believe that the passion and determination to win are stronger here at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes than anywhere else. As a Grand Prix driver, those are incredibly powerful feelings to share and be part of, and they’ve only reinforced my desire to commit my long-term future to this team.

“I’ve made no secret of my ambition to continue winning races and world championships, and I fully believe this is the place where I can achieve those aims.

“We at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes know how to win, and we’re busy refining an organisation that will enable us to keep on doing that for years to come.”

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Great news for Jenson, he's in top form and this could give him a couple more great years.


More than a couple, I suspect.

I'm glad he stays at McLaren. Moving to Ferrari to be Alonso's number two would have been a huge mistake. Staying at McLaren gives him the best chance of another world championship.


How long exactly is the deal for? The only thing i have heard is that he "will have a seat past 2012". is that 3, 4, 8 seasons?


Exactly, Dave and Henry. To Ian, read the post. Only the insiders know, and it will remain that way probably until 2013 or so.

Great news for Jenson, and very well deserved. He has been able to deliver some brilliant drives in many races for the past few years (not to mention some less recognised great drives when further down the field earlier in his career).

Here's hoping that McLaren can come up trumps and that Jenson or Lewis brings home another championship in the next couple of years.



I recall no one knew about a clause in his Brawn contract about he could keep the car if he won the WDC that year, and it was only blown undercover due to Brawn being stupid and were unwilling to honour it.

So I guess things will remain under wraps until later years, as R Martin said here. =)


From above:

'“Multi-year” means more than two, but doesn’t specify how long.'


Actually it just means more than one year.


actually, to be a real pedant, it means *at least 2*.


It seems they haven't released that information. They've only said it is a multi-year deal.


Perhaps the rest is option-based?


Fantastic. Button's form over the past few years has been great to watch develop from being a driver who was almost due to exit the sport from his results to where he is now. He doesn't (at least to me) come across as a hot-head, and the pairing with Lewis seems to be a great fit for the team, despite Lewis's what looks like self-destruction which hopefully is just a phase.

If only more of the big teams had two drivers so equally capable of winning races and equally matched.


Has Button won a dry race for McLaren yet? I am not so sure he is 'equally matched' with an on-song Hamilton.

Were I a betting man I would still bet my house on Hamilton finishing ahead of Button this year even with JB having a 17 point head start. Button at his best just can't keep up with Hamilton what his best in my opinion. Can Hamilton still consistently deliver his best though?


Jenson has just won a dry race for Mclaren.

Can we stop with that one now?


Not yet but he has outraced Hamilton in the dry many times this year ... A win is a win , dry or wet . In fact , it probably is more harder to overtake and win in the wet .

Arnando Falonso

And yet Jenson keeps finding the winning ticket? What are the odds?


Most people consider that a wet race is a bit of a lotterly, in-so-far-as anyone could win.


This season Hamilton’s crashed out of as many races as Button’s won. Finishing matters, no matter how fast you think you are. Moreover, Button also has two car-related retirements, so in that regard, the playing field really is level despite Hamilton hurting himself. I’ll put my money on the guy that consistently finishes, and often does so higher than his qualifying position.

Jordan: “I think Hamilton has deafeated himself so far this year through a number of costly blunders and underperformances”

That’s the point. Jensen is outperforming himself and Hamilton is underperforming. McLaren really needs Hamilton to get back in form.


" I’ll put my money on the guy that consistently finishes, and often does so higher than his qualifying position." +1

Recall how Keke Rosberg won his WDC, anyone? =)


Well said, my thoughts exactly. I do have huge respect for Button and I think that he is performing at his best and should be very proud, but I think Hamilton has deafeated himself so far this year through a number of costly blunders and underperformances. Should be interesting to see if Hamilton rediscovers some of his old form in the remaining races. Suzuka is a great place for him to start because it's a track that I feel plays to his driving style.


Button is closer to Lewis in the last qualifying sessions. I think this pattern will continue. It looks to me like that after a year and a half he just managed to fight his big weakness. Not that he is perfect, but he will be a tougher cookie this year.



The problem Ferrari and Redbull have is not that they don't have 2 top drivers in their teams it's because Vettel and Alonso are so dominant, if you take Hamilton and pair him with Vettel then you'd see Vettel blow him away the same if Button were to go to Ferrari.


What like Hamilton was mean't to do to him.... :s


OR Hamilton had his head messed up a bit 'cos Button has come into "The Lions Den" and tamed the "Lion" put the kettle on, his feet on the table made himself some toast and bagged more points to boot whilst getting the respect of the team oh and now a multi year contract all with a very calm attitude and very disarming smile that hides the ultra competitive instints that exist inside.


Hamilton has defeated himself this year, plain and simple, this is widely acknowledged. Hamilton on top form, even James would have to admit that Button wouldn't see where he went...Hamilton is not happy at McLaren, obvious to anyone with a brain...he is over driving because he hasn't had a car to challenge for the championship since 2008, this is resulting in mistakes. Button has had a very good year with consistent driving...bringing home the good points....won't win a championship though. If McLaren seriously believe that Button is the future of the team then something is wrong somewhere. The only beneficiary i can see in all this is Mercedes....Hamilton will be tempted to partner his friend Nico, and to link up with Haug (who rates Hamilton very highly, regardless of the negative press). Why risk your life doing something you don't enjoy??? Lewis, I'm very sure, is asking that question right now.


Would it be more likely McLaren and Ferrari don't have a genius designer like Adrian Newey than they don't have top driver like Vettel?

If you talk about top driver like Vettel, there are Alonso and Hamilton from both camps, with Button closely tailing behind.


Don't think Vettel would blow Hamilton away. Hamilton nearly "blew" Alonso away in 2007. And Hamiltons biggest concern this season is that he overdrives the car because Vettels RBR machine is by far the best car out there. If Hamilton and Vettel sat in the same car i'm pretty sure Vettel would have a hard time.

It's so much easier to control a race in front than chase from fifth, sixth or eight place of the grid. Just look back at the Schumacher days. He started doing mistakes the day Reanult got a car capable of challenge him in 2005 and 2006. In the glory Ferrari days he did not do a mistake at all...


Either Webber has got considerably slower this year than last, or he's not getting the same support from the team as Vettel. Given his recent comments, I suspect it's the latter.

Similarly, Massa isn't getting the same support from Ferrari as Alonso. Probably, he is slower than Alonso, but not by the amount indicated by performance this season.

The McLaren Duo are getting equal support, and I suspect the same is true of Schumacher and Rosberg at Mercedes.

Vettel would probably blow away any teammate at the moment. While part of that is due to his undoubted talent, it is at least partially due to the higher level of support he enjoys within the team. Vettel and Alonso are dominant because of their support from the team, not just because they're fast behind the wheel.

There are probably a handful of drivers in the top flight who would win given Vettel's car and level of support versus his teammate.

At the very least, I'd put Hamilton, Alonso, DiResta, Schumacher, Rosberg and Button on that list (not necessarily in that order), and possibly Sutil, Kobayashi and Maldonado too.

Vettel is one of the top drivers. He's not a superman though. He has the best car.


If Webber isn't getting the support he needs at), then why does he keep extending his contract with them?


The big difference for Webber from last year to this is his starts: that's really hurting him. And this year's tyres don't suit him as well. And Vettel is much more consistently on TOP form. Think that's got more to do with it than support (or lack of) from RB.


Indeed - and, not only are they both capable, the drivers are both allowed to race!


And now for a car to match the driver line-up, please, McLaren!


Great news. Hamilton's raw speed, Button's maturity and a good winter should produce a successful 2012 for McLaren.


Well am not surprised Jenson decided to extent his contract with Mclaren for this was been clearly on the cards a long time for as long as Whitmarsh is at Mclaren, Jenson will have a drive - No doubt about that.

But the thing that surprised me is how Jenson came into the team & in effect staged a coupdetat against the number 1 driver at the team.

Yes, this is a good contract for Jenson for if he continues beating his teammate, his stock will keep rising but yet again, this is a double edged sword in that if Hammy decides to put his number 2 back in his place... The Jenson no grip excuses will begin rolling out freely like Lucozade!

As for Jenson being the first teammate to finish ahead of the most talented driver to enter the sport since Senna, may I remind you of the last lap of the last race 2008.

Keep tuned!


The coup detat was not just about Jenson but about Whitmarsh. Lewis is Ron Denis's preferred candidate and Button is Whitmarsh's preferred candidate. Its as simple as that. With all the talk about a manufactured driver and all, one would come to expect that as a person, Whitmarsh prefers Button just as Ron preferred Lewis over Alonso.


I doubt JB will trot out excuses but I'm sure if he needs to Lewis will lend him the book of excuses he's been referring to this year


Mika and schumi, Alonso, to state the obvious to me, and possibly a name or two of drivers who had it but could not , or where not given the tools to be remembered as world champion. There were talented racers after senna and before Lewis. Lewis reminds me more of Montoya. Lots of natural talent, but, a run of bad luck or a slow learning curve at that level meant, Montoya, Lewis could be seem as underachievers. Don't get me wrong, I like Hamilton's pure desire to win. He makes a lot of the races more entertaining and so on. I feel, He should know by now, how to use that desire and talent to his advantage, and yet, one wonders. On his debut year, Hamilton was stunning. In 2008, he kept to the level but you could not say he showed better craft. Now in his 5th seasons, I feel he is still e bit of a rookie when he should be so far ahead of



Great post James, and good that Jenson's future is clear; he obviously seems fairly convinced about the McLaren car's propects for 012 and 013, which needs to be better than the last two seasons.

But where does that leave a certain Mr Lewis Hamilton? We all know (as the recent interview with Mark Webber confirms), two into one doesn't go ....

Jenson to win in Japan? Bring it on!


If I'm not mistaken then Hamilton's McLaren deal runs until the end of 2012. The current 'multi-year' terminology seems to suggest that McLaren now see Button as their long term plan rather than Hamilton...


This is the most incredible leap of logic I have read yet. Absolutely nothing supports this claim, nothing at all.


don't forget this is the internet, where fat and ungainly caterpillars of opinion blossom into butterflies and drift freely away from the toothy jaws of evidence.


LOL!!!!! The best comment on JAF1 for a long time!


A couple of months ago there was a lot of talk about Hamilton being up for a long term renewal of his McLaren contract, after Hamilton had been creating the impression that he might go elsewhere (remember the put-in-place romance with RBR, and the Horner comments ultimately saying that it was not going to happen, at least not as long as Seb was with RBR). Probably Hamilton was just playing this game in order to get the best possible deal at McLaren, any very wanted driver would do the exact same upon contract negotiations. However, since then there has been no news about the contract renewal (guess they are talking but not bringing it into the open), but at the same time Hamilton's results eversince haven't been outstanding to say the least.

I do not think it is a fact that McLaren see Button as their long term plan now, just like it wasn't a fact that Hamilton was seriously considering moving to RBR a couple of months ago, but it's my impression that McLaren by focusing on this undefined long term engagement with Button is now somewhat returning the favour to Hamilton who already isn't in the best of negotiation positions at this time...

Maybe McLaren just want to buy themselves some time to land on a deal with Hamilton. If his driving, attitude and results aren't changing in the early 2012 races, it think they will really start thinking about whether or not they want to go with Hamilton long term. It's a risky game though, because if Hamilton is returning to his old self in 2012 he will be a lot more expensive to sign, but at least McLaren will be sure they have a motivated driver again.


Absolutely fantastic news, both as a Jenson fan, and a McLaren fan. I dont now have to consider splitting my loyalties for him driving.

I've heard from a couple of well informed sources that Redbull (and some of the senior guys in particular) were very keen on JB, but perhaps Dietrichs long term friendship/working relationship with mark swayed the contract situ.

Although I was one of the very few who thought Jenson would not get obliterated by Lewis at McLaren, his form and ability to close races has just been a pleasure to watch.

It also proves a long term view I have. There are a great deal of talented drivers in F1 that given the right opporunity in the right team could elevate themselves into real contenders.

Some are given opportunities and dont convert that, and some are given opportunities and do. Makes the sport all the more interesting for me. The variety of engines, chassis, aero just introduces so many what ifs.

Still, gives us all something to talk about doesnt it.


Great post.

I am also a Jenson fan and share the same views. I have had to put up with a lot of crap on the forums and although their are many who still believe him nothing but lucky, despite several wins from very low starting positions I have seen people converted to accepting that he has a great deal to offer.


Being very coy about the length of the deal, elsewhere it is reported as multi-year, which could mean only two.

Jensen is known for jumping out of contracts and has done so twice before, so no doubt like all F1 contracts it is "set in paper".


Its a smart decision from McLaren point of view if his contract includes performance clause. He is a good guy and he has had a good year so far, but before (2010) not so convincing.


I don't understand this view... Why was he not convincing before 2010?

If you ignore 2007 & 2008 when he had really awful cars he's been convincing every season he's been in F1.

This kind of uneducated opinon being thrown around by sooo many armchair fans is what's kept him down imo - Granted he doesn't have the raw pace of Alonso, Hamilton & Vettel but he's still quick and ridiculously consistent in the races - He always has been.

I think this is a brilliant move by both Jenson and McLaren although I don't think he has another title in him because McLaren will more than likely always have a faster driver in the other car so when they do build a proper contender for the title I think it'll be the other driver who takes it! All provided the other driver doesn't have a year like Lewis is having in 2011 of course!


I never rated Jenson, certainly before 2009, and to be honest, not during 2009 either. If he was given a bad car, he never did anything with it. He would drive to its limits, not to his, and I never regarded him highly.

In 2009, it's still my opinion that he lucked into the title. The car was fast, Brawn had the Double Diffuser, but also, Ferrari and McLaren spent so long tweaking their 2008 cars, they forgot about the heavy rule changes for 2009. Honda started working on the car before the season's halfway point.

But I think 2009 taught him to push a car hard, and he showed that in 2010. I've got a lot more respect for him as a racer since he's been at McLaren than I had for him at Williams, Benetton/Renault or BAR/Honda/Brawn


Mclaren are very lucky to get Jenson. Considering virtually every F1 critic said Hamilton would blow Jenson away if he went to Mclaren, well JB has let his driving do the talking. If next year's Mclaren is up to the mark then I expect Jenson to be challenging for the 2012 WDC. Not only can Jenson drive like a champion he can handle the media like a champion too, and in the F1 circus today that is what is required. Jenson is the 21st century F1 complete package, so no wonder Mclaren have signed him for a multi year deal.


If you remembered some of the footage of Button's BAR drives you wouldn't be making statements like that. Button's mindset has always been to finish as high up as he can. Sometimes that means a less spectacular driving style, but not always - I remember a sensational heart in mouth moment when he was at BAR with him absolutely ragging it through Eau Rouge and Blanchimont at Spa.


Not even 2004 - yes he was consistant, but McLaren and Williams both fielded poor cars that year. They were still able to win a race though, as was Renault.


not even 2004? he was awesome, and only beaten by the ridiculously dominant ferraris.


A driver who's stock has risen and gone from strength to strength. Well done JB, you deserve it. I admit I was very skeptical when you moved to McLaren, but you have proven me wrong. And I am not sorry about that.


I think Button is a good match for McLaren. He seems to have a good work ethic and spends a lot of time at the factory which I'm sure inspires the people back there. I was fortunate to have a tour of the Renault F1 factory last year and they were still fond of Alonso and said that he spent a lot of time there with the staff which they clearly found inspirational.

I know Schumacher was always good in this area. James, is it something that teams have remarked on to you? I wonder how many drivers actually do this and how much difference it makes, especially in these times of limited testing.


It was interesting to hear that Vettel was the only driver to visit the Pirelli factory before the start of the season.


Good point - the best in the sport have always spent much time with the team personnel and in the factories. I still remember Schumacher going to buy pizzas for the test team one night in Jerez in the early noughties. This is team spirit.


Driver of the season for me so far. Really showing what he is capable of at McLaren when no one gave him a hope against Lewis.


Come on man it has to be Vettel


You have to look at the equipment and the team etc. Button has out performed Lewis Hamilton in the same car and also beaten Webber in a Red Bull.

Vettel has been supreme also no doubting his talent. He's my number 2 🙂


This is great news for jenson. He has done a cracking job of that there is no doubt.

The problem now for mclaren is they have to build a stand out car if they are going to win the drivers championship because they insist on not having a no 1 driver.


I think It's great that Jenson is staying at McLaren, and while he brought certain strengths there when he joined, I think being with Lewis has help him develop a more aggressive approach with, improved qualifying, which is what he needed if he was to win races on his own merit rather than just clever decisions in variable conditions. If he continues he potentially will become the most complete driver on the grid. Both drivers at McLaren of course need the car to improve another couple of steps to seriously take on Red Bull rather than simply being the best of the rest as they are currently.

Kevin Altringham

I wonder if his new contract pays him every time he says "Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes"? 😉


Or every time he writes Vodafone correctly? 🙂


Good for him. Some of the 'experts' have made a career writing him off so it's heartening to see someone who's paid his dues driving for midfield to embarrassing teams find a place with a proper squad. Best of luck to him.


A bit ironic that now he's on top form, signed a deal and looks all optimistic, he comes out saying teams should have a no 1 if they want to have more chances of winning the WDC. Last year he was saying otherwise, wasn't he?


Exactly my thoughts =)


No, what he was saying was that he didn't want to accept being a number two. Which is very a different thing.

I prefer cold weather to hot weather, but I don't like to be cold.

Button was saying that ultimately it's what's best for a team, though not necessarily what he wants. He's just being pragmatic.


Great news for McLaren & Jenson. This season, Jenson has been absolutely outstanding and the stalwart of the Team with exceptional race wins too. I defo think it has had a factor with regard to Lewis errors. I don't subscribe to the suggestions that Lewis has gone completely off the rails etc. I think his errors are just frustration at firstly Red Bull and secondly Jenson doing really well.

I think McLaren's biggest problem as been themselves this season.

Too many Team self inflicted errors has cost them and made them look at times disjointed.


Great news for Jenson, I hope he's got a pay packet to match as well.

Frankly, if I were Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis keeps on making stuff ups into 2012, I would let him go at the end of the season and sign up a rookie for 2013 to drive alongside Jenson as team leader.

And I have a feeling that a Lewis/Nico pairing at Mercedes in 2013 could be pretty devestating, if the silver arrows can build a respectable car.

(And, yes, I know that's dependent on Michael retiring, again, but he won't win another WDC so maybe Mercedes should start looking to the future?)


And part of McLaren's thinking might be feeling that Lewis will go ultimately to another team anyway, even if it's a lesser team. Somehow I just don't see him being content to not at least see what it's like somewhere else.


Nothing surprising really. Button has driven well this season, but he's only beating Hamilton in the sister car because Hamilton has been having a lot of brain-fade's all season. Button is a perfect number 2 driver - and Mclaren are probably counting on Hamilton picking up his game next season, or luring Vettel to Mclaren to replace Hamilton, either way Jenson really had no other choice but to re-sign.


Ah, but why has Lewis been having brain-fades ? Could it by any chance be because Mr Button has upset the prediction of being "the perfect number two" and Lewis can't cope ? That's how it seems from where I sit and watch.


Totally agree!


So it's Mclaren with Di Resta and Button in 2013 then.That will be the real dream-team.


Crap McLaren's in the last few seasons made both Jenson and Lewis look better than they are. The fact is that while the MPs are only second best in the constructors championship, they hardly match this positionon the driver standings.


That makes no sense!

You cant have 2 world champs looking "better than they are" because the car is shoddy.

They would only shine!

Youre clearly a troll, and Ive fallen for your dunmbass comment


Thanks for the compliment!

Since at McLaren Button has actually never really been in contention for the championship, neither last season nor this season ('in contention' meaning not just having a mathematical chance!). Four GP wins in two seasons driving a McLaren (not dominant but front-running) doesn't seem to me like rising the cars performance a lot and is not too much for a driver 'at his best'.

As for Hamilton, he has specialized in putting himself out of contentionp for the championshiomuch earlier than the car's competitiveness would allow when it is not dominant, and on nearly missing out when it is!

At the end of the day all they've shown is that they are able to bring a winning car home, which is a lot, but is far below the craftmanship of an Falonso.


Great news for Jenson - great news for McLaren too. McLaren need this stability, and I'm sure they have noticed that LH is not providing great consistency at the moment. You can't help but like Jense - he's having the best years of his career at the moment and doing a brilliant job.


Good for Jenson! And lucky for McLaren to keep him. At least they have one driver that brings class to the team...


If anyone deserves that contract it's Jenson. He has been phenomenal this year. While the much sought after pole positions haven't been there for him, I am left in no doubt that this year has been Jenson's best year, even better than his title winning exploits of 2 years ago. They say there is no number 1 at McLaren but during their time as team mates, Jenson is the closest to getting to that status.


Smart move from both parties...


great news for maclaren. hope ferrari can get a better driver like jenson.


Well done Jenson!

It has been a rocky route to the top but his WDC and reward of a long term contract at Mclaren after some brilliant driving means Jenson is one of the biggest names in the sport


It is good news. Jenson is a good driver and deserves to be in a good car.

He is a nice guy but unfortunately I can't rate him as one of the greatest F1 drivers. He has done some overtaking this year because he was at the back and he had the best car at that time which made the overtakings possible. McLaren is better on wet tracks. It is the car and not the driver. How many times this year after the race he has said that they had the best car but couldn't win? That sums it up.

I don't think he is going to win another championship. Before the end of the season, Hamilton will overtake him on the points table and that's for sure.


This season Jenson has out driven his team mate. If Mclaren have a winning car for 2012 then I think Jenson will win his 2nd WDC. Unfortunately Lewis doesn't seem able to cope with the pressure his team mate is putting on him. Jenson will be car number 3 and Lewis car number 4 next year.


Congratulations Jenson. Only an another English driver can show us the "truth" at McLaren. Never Hamilton would have beaten Alonso if the two world champ were English or Dennis friend. The rest of the planet we know English procedures with foreign competitors. Button is a phenomenal person and fully deserves this upper status. For sure, things from now it would be tougher for Lewis. Jenson has reached one reputation and Hammy another. I always say that Jenson has 15-50 points less thanks to McLaren mistakes this season. I think these issues wont be repeated next season for sure. No more, Jenson.


Dear Sergio, have you ever been in a english team? Spormanship is a truly british word.

All we know the issues Alonso and Hamilton had in 2007, and how bad they were managed by Dennis, but please don't put that out of context.

By the way, I'm spanish and I raced with english teams in britain w/o any problems many years in the past.



Sportmanship? We are talking about F1, about business, BIG business maded by "important" English people. I recommend you a superb movie to know how the English upper class operates: "Sleuth" (Lawrence Olivier & Michael Caine). Very polite by the way.

...And yes a have met with dozens of English working and I have English friends. I love many things from them, but as an enemies you must stay very aware. In fact Jenson Button is an Englih driver that you can put as an example of real sportmanship. I'm not critizise the ""English"", I talked about some ones.


"I’m not critizise the “”English”", I talked about some ones."

"The rest of the planet we know English procedures with foreign competitors."


Great news for McLaren. Jenson has been my driver of the year. He has done a wonderful job at McLaren.


I am not a McLaren fan and I do not really have any preference in terms of who should be higher up the points: Button vs Hamilton.

People hail the stunning season of Button and condemn Hamilton for his mistakes. There is a lot of truth in it...Button had a great season and Hamilton made far too many mistakes.

BUT...somehow Hamilton is just 17 points off Button and I bet he will finish higher than his teammate. Does it really make Button that good?


Since some Hamilton fans think that he "crushed" Alonso in '07 where they tied in points, and Hamilton came out ahead due to count back to 4th place finishes. I'd say that a 17 point difference is huge. Especially since there are 5 more chances to increase that lead.


Statistics are misleading arent they. However you could point to lots of events (buttons wheel nut problem as an example) and what ifs.

The fact is hes driven really well most of the year, and he's made a load of overtakes, being a lot more aggressive than in previous years.

That in my view, is because he's felt like he needs to bring his A game to have a chance against Lewis. And he's definitely brought his A game this year.


and Hamilton was only 26 points better than Button in 2010 ..

Does that make Hamilton that good ?




Like I said, I have no preference:-) Jenson can certainly drive and he did surprise me several times this year. Hamilton is very entertaining and I love when he starts at the back of the grid. Kimi was the same, he could charge from the back of the grid.

Alonso (184) and Massa (84)

Vettel (309) and Webber (182)

Both Massa and Webber are having a DISASTER seasons...:-)

All of a sudden Hamilton with 17 points behind Button doesn't look too bad:-)


The simple facts of "Jenson having an outstanding season", and "Lewis having a poor season" yet the points gap is only 17 seems to have been missed, or conveniently ignored by a lot of poster. So well done for highlighting it. So I think you are justified in asking, how good is Jenson really?


I think I will upset a lot of people here but my view on Jenson hasn't changed much a part from his consistency.

The reason why he looked so impressive is because a lot of accidents Lewis had.

If Alonso is driving the other Mclaren it could have been a very different story. There were a few races where Lewis could have won this season if he didn't mess up.

I mean that's what you expect from a driver of Lewis calibre. And lewis is having the worst season and button is having is best, the points different is 17.

And it's not over yet.

Now I completely understand why guys like Schumi, Vettel, Alonso, senna being so ruthless.

Because that's one rule u can't afford to break in f1 wether you like it or not. If you don't do that to your teammate he will make u pay for it.

Kimi was supposed to be number one and get the team behind him but he didn't. As a result Massa made him pay.

Jenson is doing exactly what he should be doing, just like what Massa did to Kimi. Get on with your teammate, get the team behind you, force your teammate to be number two.

The root of all Lewis problems is Jenson. He may not realize it but that's the reality.


Let's not forget that Button's had two DNF's this season, when running high in the points - both of those DNF's were not his fault (hydraulics in Germany, I think and ill-fitting of a wheel\tyre in Britain)... without these the points gap between them would be much, much more. As an aside the WDC would still not be finished either, but hey ho, credit to RBR and Seb.

I was a little fearful for Button when he moved to Macca, but I did suggest (at the time) that Button saw a chink in Hamilton's armour and that was at Monza in '09; Hamilton (in 3rd) was closing on Button (in 2nd behind Rubens), Hamilton should have caught and passed him... instead Lewis threw it into the fence. Deja vu! 🙂

Mind you, I enjoy watching Lewis drive when he's "on it" and I wouldn't want him to dissolve that passion in anyway.


Good news! Good to have British drivers in our best British team.


I thought Bruce was an Aussie.


Bruce McLaren was actually a New Zealander! The team is well and truly British but it will get a bit complicated working out the nationalities of some to the teams like Red Bull, Renault, & Lotus which are based in Britain, staffed mainly by Brits but funded from abroad.


This was always going to be the right decision for both parties.

Whoever emerges as the winner of the Hamilton/Button battle on the track, Jenson will make a brilliant brand ambassador for the McLaren road car operation.

As a regular at LeMans I would love to see more ex-F1 racers in Sports Car racing.

It would be great to see Jenson in the McLaren works sports car team, perhaps even paired with DC when he tires of DTM. Both have the perfect temperament for long distance racing.


There'd have to be a works McLaren team first since CRS, the GT3 car developer, have already said they wont race against their customers and have confiremd they're disbanding the GT team after this season.


Very happy for J.B.But i don't think he will have the opportunity to drive d red(ferrari) again.


Very good news for both parties. Much as I doubted Jenson's ability in the early years (and bearing in mind seasons like 2001, with some justification I believe), he has certainly turned a corner since 2009 and is probably in the form of his life. Staying with McLaren gives him the best chance to capitalise on that. He's also played a sizeable role in developing the car according to Paddy Lowe's recent interview, so much as it's desirable for him to stay it's also desirable for them to keep him. What impact this will have on Lewis' future at McLaren remains to be seen - his response makes it sound like he'll stay but then again he also suggested he would leave if the team didn't up its game so it's probably 50-50.


Congrats to Jenson, i think the pairing of him and Lewis works well, Lewis is the super quick,can take a horrible car and make great work with it, but sometimes unfortunate and not able to bring home points.

Jenson is the super reliable and consistent smooth fingertip driver, that can bring home points consistently and also pull out some remarkable drives, especially in changeable conditions. i think their pairing works better than any other team.

Hopefully both McLaren drivers can get WDC in the near future


I agree with this one. Lewis is a little genious like Seb. But gentlemen JB will keep the points coming in in 2012-2014. The team can have one fast, genious driver to go for the WDC but JB will make sure they are on the podium.....and if someone makes a little mistake in front of him......he's the champ.... I wish him all the best.

Adrian Newey Jnr

Much has been made of Button's resigning. But realistically, do either side have a choice?

Button has no other good seats available to him. McLaren are arguably the best team at developing cars throughout the season (nothwithstanding they usually play catch up!).

McLaren want a safe pair of hands to counter Hamilton's occasional errors. They know they have a superstar in Lewis, but need to bank points in their second car (much like Webber's role at RBR). JB is obviously a better bet than hiring an up and comer, as this experiment failed with Heiki.


Button did have other options... Ferrari and Red Bull! Come the end of 2012 both of these teams would want Button. Fast & consistent but won't upset or get in the way of their superstar no 1's. Perfect.

Adrian Newey Jnr

Seriously? Thats all fluff from his agent. Much like Lewis or Mark were never going to sign with anyone else. If anything McLaren have the most to lose as they don't appear to have any back up plan with regards to their future drivers line up. RBR and Ferrari have contracted drivers waiting in the wings. McLaren are more exposed to the open market.


James, now that you are at Suzuka, is there any update regarding the Raikkonen-Williams situation? Thanks.



I curious to the surrounds of Jenson leaving Brawn for McLaren. Had Jenson planned moving to McLaren long before he started winning races and looking like world champion, or did the door at McLaren open up to him because of his Brawn success?

Adrian Newey Jnr

I guess that shows how certain senior management changed their view of him compared to pre-season.

Craig in Manila

I think the basis of this (and all) contract negotiations is that there are no decent seats coming-up until end of 2012 when MW and MS (probably) depart the scene.

Further 1 : no experienced driver really wants to go to Ferrari to play No.2 whilst Alonso is there.

Further 2 :LH has already made it semi-clear that he is not terribly committed to McLaren.

Further 3 : SV is locked-in too and RBR already have a few decent candidates to fill the MW spot.

As such, a lot of drivers and teams are basically trying to workout a solid plan to maintain a reasonable "holding pattern" until there are more developments.

Both JB and McLaren have probably realised that, with LH looking for new seats and above vacancies coming-up at end of 2012, it is best to just sign a two-year deal to keep JB at McLaren into 2013 just-in-case LH departs at end of 2012. If LH departs, McLaren can then re-assess and stick someone else in beside.

Having said all that, good luck to him. Lets hope that McLaren can provide a car that lets him compete for the top podium on a more-regular basis.


Sounds very plausible.


Hi James,

Even though there were rumours which said Jenson enquired about a seat at Red Bull (which has built an amazing car this season and last season) and with Ferrari (a team with the best track record in F1) interested in him, Jenson in the end decided to stick with Mclaren.

So I was just wondering...

Do you think this means that Jenson has a lot of confidence in Mclaren's car for next season and that he believes Mclaren can mount a very strong title challenge? And he would also have the same confidence in the Mclaren cars for the subsequent years?

Or do you think this means that Jenson would rather be at a team which gives equal treatment to both drivers then be at a team who can provide a car as strong as Red Bull but runs the risk of being a No 2 driver (to Vettel or Alonso)?


I think he feels McLaren is the best place, with firm interest in having him long term. He'll help them sell some road cars too


Suspect it's a three year deal with a mutual opt out clause for the third year for Jensen. McLaren I suspect are pleased to have a driver contracted and committed to them for a few years. Lewis is disenchanted with McLaren's apparent inability to produce a front running car, but he would be foolish to go anywhere other than Red Bull, and he needs to look to his own form otherwise McLaren may ultimately decide that he is a liability they can no longer afford in favour of someone else if he continues in this way. - But I hope not! Are McLaren lightly to produce a better car for next year? The trouble is that this is a sport where performance is only relative, and next year diffusers are banned entirely, so will that bring about a change to Red Bulls fortunes. I somehow doubt it as long as Adrian Newey is involved, but we'll have to wait and see. Personally I would much sooner see a season where the top teams are much closer together, and 2012 might just bring Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes within striking distance of each other.


Spotted a huge banner of Kimi Raikkonen 2012 at Suzuka. LOL those Japanese fans!


Smart move by Jenson to resign in a team that can challenge for wins and where he feels loved and looked after. If it ain't broke don't fix it! Moving to Ferrari and trying to make a home for himself in Alonso's back garden wouldn't be a smart move. Interesting to see what will happen next year with Lewis if indeed it runs out next year.


hamiltons DNF's have largely been of his own making

without his 2 car failures button would have been almost 2 wins clear of hamilton , that's how much better he has been this season ...didn't prost win 4 WDC using exactly the same tactics as button ....senna , for example , was always faster though

being the fastest driver isn't enough , it's a combination of skills that racks up the championships !

in my view there are 3 drivers who could have walked the championship if they swopped cars with vettel this year ...alonso , hamilton and button

last year webber tried to get wins to seal the championship ...and failed ; the year before button , having lost his car superiority in mid season , just ignored the ...win in style....brigade , picked up points , and eased home

hamilton is the fastest driver I have seen since senna , maybe even faster

but given a choice , would you rather be the fastest or the champion ..no contest for me !


Lets hope we will still be able to watch him race for multi years on our TV's

Government petition to keep F1 free to air in UK



Is there any truth in The Times report of the deal being for 4 years and 50 million? That would put him on par with Alonso and Hamilton or just behind. My guess is that it's a 2-year deal with options for years 3 and 4.


I'm very pleased for JB. Let's hope McLaren will give him the best car on the grid. He's only had the fastest car on the grid once in his career and only for part of that year.

Michael Prestia

Button had no where else to go. He made inquiries at RB and Ferrari and both have drivers for 2012 so its either sign with McLaren or go to a middle of the pack team... easy decision but probably put the negotiating power in the hands of McLaren. No way he is making as much as Hamilton even though he probably deserves more.


Isn't this the same driver who criticised Alonso for signing a multi year contract?


Reading this thread there are a lot of comments about Hamilton & Button and how different people believe that one is better than the other etc etc.
But can we not [mod] see that the are two top class drivers who compliment each other brilliantly! Almost as if the flaws in one seem to be the strengths of the other.
Hamilton is an out and out instinctive racer, he attacks the circuit and his rivals in a breathtaking fashion and is awesomely quick - he seems to have a 'natural' speed that Button can't match. But Hamilton's weakness is his inability to think through the race, to formulate strategy on the fly, to know when to be patient and bide your time.
That's where Button's strengths lie. He can't match Hamilton's raw pace but he can out think him and that is what get's him results.
If the two of them can learn from each other's strengths (and if Mclaren can hit the ground running in terms of car performance next year)as a team they will surely be unbeatable.


I'd agree with this for the most part, though I think the speed differential has more to do with driving style than "natural" speed. Button has said publicly he needs the perfect set up to get the best from himself (which is ironic given how much of his career up to 2009 he spent hustling fairly woeful machinery), Hamilton's driving style means that at the margin he can wrestle more pace from a slightly "off" car. Which for most of the time they've been in comparable machinery is what McLaren have given them.

This season I suspect the car has come to Button somewhat - he is more comfortable in it now its been designed to fit him, and his feedback and input (which is renowned) may well have led to development that suits him - hence less of a difference between him and Hamilton in out and out speed.

The remainder of the 17 point gap can of course be explained by Hamilton's judgement, which has been poor this year alongside a teammate known for his race-craft, making the contrast starker. Hamilton is a young man who has been on an astonishing trajectory of success and progression to the WDC in 2008. For the first time he is facing circumstances that he is unaccustomed to, and therefore its only to be expected that he'll make mistakes. He seems naive rather than stupid so I expect he will learn. Had he been better advised he may have done so a little faster this year, but again, with talent like his he may not have needed to listen to advice before. At his age, I ignored the need to seek good advice and i didn't have the excuse of talent.


This is good news for JB and Mclaren, although it is not unexpected.

He has shown himself better then expectations against Hamilton regardless of whether or not he beats him on points. He has closed the gap in qualifying and his racing is second to none IMHO.

He has also proven that he is capable of leading a top team, even with an encumbent superstar driver.

I think that, should a drive have been available at RBR or Ferrari, he could have risen to the challenge. I'm not sure that Hamilton is mentally strong enough at this stage to do that.


although Button has done a job on Hamilton this season does he really have to pace to compete with the big boys when all the cars are more closly matched?

it wont be long until all the teams at the front can match the Red Bulls for pace(hopefully) can you honestly say that you would fancy Button to put it on pole position consistantly and mix it with Hamilton Vettel Alonso when all these cars are close in performance ?

I for one dont think he can as he just dosnt have the raw pace needed i know that the argument will be ah but he did with Brawn but i mean when all the cars are closly matched is he the type of driver that can deliver that extra tenth or two to put it on pole as history tells us the Big Teams always catch up at some point !

There is no doubt he can do the business on a race day but no good starting from 4th or 5th on a sunday i know he was close to Vettels time but he had a faster car and still could not grab pole position away from seb Hamilton would have had he got his last flying lap in.

i also hink the only reason he has closed the gap to lewis in qualy this season is because development of the car is going Jensons way at the moment.

I guess only time will tell


James, why is my earlier post(October 6, 2011 @ 2.49am) still awaiting moderation after 3 days?? Thanks.


From the coverage this weekend it looks like the number of multi-years is relatively small.

Exhibit 1 is that Jenson said in an interview that he doesn't expect this to be his last contract. Therefore, it is more likely to be 2-3 years than 4-5 for that to be in any way plausible.

Exhibit 2 is that Martin Brundle talked of a 2+1 contract for Jenson at the end of the BBC coverage. Now, this may be confusion with Jenson's current contract, but given Martin is in driver management himself I would imagine that it is fairly likely to be correct.

All in all, more results like today and it could be very good news for all concerned.


Great win for Jenson today : a thoroughly deserved reward for a new contract.

In the BBC coverage today, I heard the excellent Ted Kravitz say that Jenson wants to do LeMans but that Martin Whitmarsh isn't too keen.

There's a simple answer to this, Martin : McLaren is now a Sports Car manufacturer, just ask your boss Big Ron to build Jenson an LMP1 car.

McLaren are already developing the MP4 12C for the GT categories so after a couple of years practicing in the GT classes, hopefully picking up a class win or two along the way, it should not be too difficult to move up to building a Prototype.

There are upwards of 75,000 of us Brits who go to LeMans every year and every one of us would love to see a British car driven by Jenson win the race.

Jeremy (cape town) South Africa

Lewis is not happy at Mclaren anymore!!! I'm a big fan of Lewis and I think he should go to Mercedes in 2013!!!!

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