F1 Winter Break
Tricky build up to British Grand Prix for Jenson Button
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jun 2014   |  3:48 pm GMT  |  222 comments

Jenson Button’s British Grand Prix weekend, rather than a happy homecoming, looks likely to feature some awkward questions about his future after the McLaren chairman Ron Dennis gave him a hurry-up in the media.

Button has had another tough season with an uncompetitive car, but his low-key performance in Austria came at an awkward moment as thoughts are focussed on contracts for next season. Button qualified and finished a distant 11th while his rookie team mate Kevin Magnussen was 7th.

Magnussen has finished in the points five times this season to Button’s four, but the Englishman is ahead on points 43 to 29.

In qualifying they are 4-4 with Magnussen just shading it on an average qualifying position of 9.375 compared to Button’s 9.625.

It’s not bad for either driver, but arguably a world champion who has been in the team for four seasons should be shading a rookie by a greater margin. Against that it is a completely new formula, so the playing field is levelled somewhat compared to if they were competing to the old V8 formula.

Dennis wants to revitalise McLaren, to shake it out of the torpor that he and other shareholders felt it had fallen into under Martin Whitmarsh’s reign. What is most problematic for Button, who was hired by Whitmarsh, is that Dennis has chosen to highlight a lack of effort on Button’s part as an issue.


“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do – he’s a highly-paid grand prix driver,” Dennis told Sky Sports. “Yes, we are not giving him the best car and, yes, it would challenging for him to win in it, to say the least, but he could do his bit and Kevin has to make it as difficult for him as possible.”

“I’m happy with the drivers in the sense that I think they are giving their best. I’m sure Kevin is giving a big wake-up call for Jenson, and in some ways you say, ‘Great, we’ve made a great choice with Kevin’ but in other ways you say, ‘Come on Jenson, you are a world champion and one thing you can do on a consistent basis – and you should be doing it – is beating your team-mate’.

McLaren is in a rut, there is no question about that and the team is currently the worst performing of the Mercedes powered outfits. It lies 6th in the contractors’ championship on 72 points with the less well funded Force India and Williams outfits ahead, albeit the three teams are separated by just 15 points.

But the team is thinking big and is making no secret of wanting to hire a big name driver for next season. But there is little obvious incentive for Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso, two names that have been linked with the team, to return.

Romain Grosjean is not your obvious McLaren driver on some levels, but he is close to team boss Eric Boullier and is definitely very fast. His name is likely to be mentioned if McLaren decide to look elsewhere and cannot land a world champion.


Speaking in Montreal recently Button said of talks on his contract that there was, “No more progress at all. But that’s just the way it is. We’re here, we’ve spent four good years together already. It’s our fifth year together. And we both want to work together in the future but it’s just not time yet. Not the right time.

“We have a lot of other issues to solve first before we start thinking about the future too much. We’re in a good place and y’know, I think my experience does help me a lot. I still feel very young at heart, fitter than ever and I have all that experience. I’m in a great position and I feel I’ve got a lot more to give in the future in Formula One. I definitely can’t see an end to my career.”

Next season comes the return of Honda, which will introduce a new element to the mix at McLaren. The word in F1 engineering circles is that the Japanese giant is a little behind in its preparations with the V6 turbo hybrid engine, the ERS for which is being done by McLaren themselves.

With all the current manufacturers able to upgrade and develop their engines for next season’s use before the next homologation cut-off in February, there is immense effort going into that already for next year.

Honda is going to be up against it with a Stage 1 engine in 2015 against Stage 2 engines from Renault, Ferrari and particularly Mercedes.

Engineers from Mercedes’ rivals are admitting that they will not catch the German manufacturer this season on performance and fuel efficiency this season and will be hard pressed to make major inroads next season.

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Go, Jenson! 😉

Christopher Cathles

JB is a "Contract" driver, whereas in older times drivers were often "Works" drivers. Point here is that a Contract driver cannot be told of secret information about the design of the car they drive, lest he takes it to another team when his contract is up. So the contract driver has to explain to his mechanics about the "feel" of the car, who in turn have to interpret that information to the design team. In addition, JB has said in the past that he would be happy to see out his time in F1 with McLaren. I'm therefore wondering if it would be good for McLaren to get JB on board within the Company, allowing him to have access to design secrets, which in turn would translate into greater understanding when he drives the car. In other words, become a "Works" driver.

P.S., I know security is tight at Woking - I've done a lot of AV work at the MTC and have seen the "no go" areas. I can only guess JB and KM aren't allowed into some of those areas and the secrets they contain!


All the drivers are 'contract drivers'. So it's not as if JB has some kind of restriction that the other driver's don't have.

Christopher Cathles

Sure, JB is in the same boat as all the other "contact" drivers - the point here is that JB has intimated he would be happy to see out his F1 time at McLaren, thus a "Works" role may give him inner understandings on a mechanical level, which may give him a driving advantage (or not!). After all, we hear that SV and MSc have made a huge effort to glean a lot of technical understanding from their Teams - maybe a cross-pollenation between JB and the "off-limits" areas of MTC could produce dividends.

Ron, if you read this, it's only a thought............


Talk about cooking up excuses to cover up poor performance! This one would rank right up there with the best!

Sorry, but after several years of mediocre performances, JB's time at McLaren seems to be up finally!


Yer - Agree. How much did people flogggggggg Webber about this point in time in his own career? Answer is 'A Lot'. Clearly we are starting to see (well i am anyway) that as most drivers get older (Im not including Alonso yet) they lose the edge. Webber did, Button is, Sutil is, Barichello did, Massa - i dont think he is far away either. I honestly dont think Jensen has been the same since he lost his father.


The last line is another excuse!


How do you know what JB's status is?


For sure, these Jenson rumblings couldn't have come at a worse time considering Silverstone has been a boogey track for Jenson so much so that he hasn't finished in the top 10 since 2011.

Now, I think the fact that Jenson is the second oldest driver on the grid is bothering Ron Dennis as he looks to the future.

Yes with age, performances tend to decline in sport and so Ron feels Jenson may not be the right driver to see the team into the new Honda chapter.

Regards, Mini-mag, despite being a rookie, his performances haven't exactly set the world alight.

I mean qualifying hasn't been Jenson's strongest point and that fact that Mini-mag is level on 4-4 with Jenson points to the fact that he isn't naturally fast.

I guess this is why Mclaren want to employ somebody like Alonso because at the moment, the team doesn't have a number 1 driver.

As for the Mclaren-Honda partnership, hopefully the team doesn't regret the decision for it's never a good idea to try and re-live the past.


it's not good for Button when Ron Dennis said, " Kevin is a good wake up call for Jenson," a comment which I can't believe comforts Honda, as Button being their #1 driver in the Mclaren Honda. The services of the top three drivers for Mclaren are highly unlikely. Hulkenberg would be more than an adequate replacement for Button in the Mclaren Honda.



@ Malcolmn

For sure, Hulkenberg should have been snapped up a long time ago by the team but unfortunately this was the time when Whitmarsh was in charge and by the looks of it, he got a few decisions wrong.


You really think Whitmarsh could take decisions on his own? Ron never left the team!

Perez was brought in for sponsorship reason i.e. Carlos Slim's (Telmex) Mexican dollars! But the money never came in because Mexican GP for this year wasn't finalised.


I agree to a certain extent about Hulkenberg, but Perez recently is showing otherwise.


You have to remember that age isn't on Alonso's side, nor has he ever been the best qualifier in anything but the fastest car. He's damn good in a race though... oh wait, just like Button.

The only reason I can see them taking Alonso over Button at this stage is commercially - his motivation seems to have been ground down by Ferrari's general mediocrity and whilst he's persistent and dogged about getting more out of his car than he should get, you don't see him doing a 2012...

H.Guderian (ALO Fan)

"He’s damn good in a race though… oh wait, just like Button"



@ Optimaximal

Oh but there's a reason why Alonso is called the best driver on the grid and that's because irrespective of the car's handling he always out performs the equipment and hence rarely finishes lower than his qualifying position.

Jenson too is great at keeping out of trouble in the race but only if his car is perfectly balanced.


Surely you're not saying Jenson is equal to Fernando come race day?

I like Jenson a lot, he's one of the most likeable characters in F1, but he lacks the killer instinct, determination, hunger and aggresiveness that Alonso has. And this is exactly what Mclaren needs right now in a driver.

This is why Ron Dennis seems to be willing to swallow his bitter pill in order to attract Alonso back at Macca. But the question is, will Alonso want to go back?


>"This is why Ron Dennis seems to be willing to swallow his bitter pill in order

> to attract Alonso back at Macca. But the question is, will Alonso want to go back?"

Not if he still has his huevos/pelotas.


Goferet, see my post below.

My theory is that the Macca malaise (snappy title!) is mainly down to the fact that a whole host of talented personnel have deserted McLaren in their droves - personnel called Lewis, Paddy, Pat, Adrian, Fernando..............all superb and very capable personnel who Scuderia Woking haven't found adequate replacements for - hence they are suffering.

I think it's called brain drain..................

Do you know what, Lewis deciding to hop and skip from Woking to Brackley after Singapore 2012 (with some encouraging soothing words from King Rat Lauda and Ross the Boss) looks like the best career move both fiscally and results wise since Mr Rooney decided to dump Everton for Old Trafford!


Only Hamilton and Lowe left McLaren after 2012 where the malaise began. Remember that McLaren had a winning car in every year until 2012 and this, after Newey and Fry and Furbato etc. left...


@ Gaz Boy

Good point.

And I suspect Mclaren's brain drain has something to do with the strict rules at Woking e.g. tucking in shirts, no keeping of trophies, no sharing of company shares with employees and the like.

And seeing as the paddock isn't exactly flooded with geniuses in the mold of Newey, this adversely affects the team in the long run.


On the Jenson front it does not surprise me at all. If Magnussen keeps going forward and Jenson stand still he will not be at Mclaren next year.

As for Renault and Ferrari -they must surely be downplaying their ability to make ground on Mercedes. Sure Mercedes will have an advantage but the others would be surely experimenting with a similar setup this year in preparation for next year?..Who knows Hondas "stage 1" entry maybe the class of the field with some innovation..


Renault and Ferrari can't make 100% on Mercedes next year, because there are limits on some development - as each year of this new Formula wears on, the changes that can be made each year are narrowed down, with parts required to be carried over, leading to ever-decreasing increments.

This is why there are rumours that Renault are looking to sell the engine division to a third-party because then any *new* engine wouldn't be bound by the homologation rules, meaning they could just clone what Mercedes have done, with improvements.

It's also why Honda shouldn't really be able to get next year wrong - they've seen what works best from the outside and can just copy it - they've just got to make sure they do it better.


Roman Grosjean "definitely very fast"

Have I missed something?

Judging by Alonso's performances against the Iceman the Lotus flattered both Kimi and Roman in previous years.


Using your example one should also come to the conclusion that since Ricciardo is currently beating Vettel that Seb's past successes were also merely due to being "flattered" by the car. Come on, nobody wins one let alone FOUR consecutive WDC's on luck alone.

So judging a driver's ability merely on just one bad season or just PARTS of seasons as is the case here is foolish.

Here are a couple of FACTS I think every F1 fan should know and accept: a Formula 1 car is an immensely complicated machine made more complicated by the fact each team's car is designed and built differently each and every year, and extensive changes are made to the cars throughout the year that changes how the car handles.

This is why NO driver is immune to having their driving either helped or hindered by particular cars and their setups relative to other drivers. I repeat: NO driver. Ever. In history. Senna, Schumi...they all have struggled at times with how their cars behaved according to their style, and hence struggled to beat their teammates. Does that mean they were lesser drivers? No.


Vettel has a horrendous amount of bad luck and Riccardo has always looked very fast even though most didn't pick up on this because he wasn't in a good car. His performances against team mates like Luizzi in HRT and Vergne showed he might be very good. We still don't know until Vettel's run of unreliability stops.

As for Grosjean, I am not just coming to this conclusion on a couple of races of Kimi against Alonso. Alonso was an average 0.4 sec faster than Massa and Räikkönen was his equal at Ferrari. It's no surprise now Räikkönen can't match Alonso.

If you say it's because of the accident Massa is slower, before that he was an average 0.4 slower than a 38 year old Schumacher. Who actually at the end of the 2008 season tested the Ferrari and was 0.5 faster than both Massa and Räikkönen.

Alonso is a great driver and Räikkönen and Massa good one's with the likes of Grosjean maybe having potential but proving little so far.


After saying all of the above Räikkönen will probably trounce Alonso the rest of the year! But would be very happy being wrong on this!


Valentino Rossi would probably agree with you . . .


Well put.

And if Ron wants a known benchmark he only has to look at how closely matched JB and LH were in the same car. Lewis qualified better, but JB accumulated a smidgeon more points. On that basis you could argue that JB kept Lewis honest to a greater degree than Kevin is to Jenson.

Clean sheet this year, and the lack of downforce in the McLaren is really hurting them. I'm sure if the technical bods had got a car that was up at the front with the Mercedes with regular podium positions for both drivers there'd be no talk of either of them being replaced.



Lewis Hamilton(657pts) vs Jenson Button(672pts)


3.8 vs 6.0 (average qualifying position)

44 vs 14 (teammate finishing above other where both cars completed qualifying)

0.604s (average lap-time Hamilton was faster by)


4.0 vs 4.4 (average finishing position)

24 vs 13 (teammate finishing above other where both cars completed race)

Hamilton Retirements - 13

Button Retirements - 8

Hamilton - 10 Wins & 9 Pole Positions

Button - 8 Wins & 1 Pole Positions

Think Jenson's consistence and reliability had a lot to do with that but on pure speed like you say Hamilton was clearly ahead.

Fernando 150% Alonso

I will answer you at this one! The answer is YES, Seb performances, all 4 of them where flattered by that RedBull, and anybody can see that this year 😉


Then WEB should have beaten VET.

Mark V is 150% right.

Fernando 150% Alonso is 150% wrong.


Just remembering something my Father always shared in terms of "principle" and in this case, perhaps the Mclaren "principle chairman" might take to heart: a bird does not want to mess it's own nest. Negative "motivation" does not speak well of one's abilities to engender a positive result IMHO. Even if a lot of what goes on in F-1 seems to rotate around that pin.


Whilst i accept that you are 100% correct in your view of Dennis demotivating this driver whom has not had much luck at all at McLaren recently. He has however been reasonably out performed by his rookie team mate so far this year.


But Kmag hasn't out performed Button by the actual measure of performance in the sport - championship points. 42 points to 29. Not a huge gap if they were able to get up front for the big points, but given the team is fighting for scraps, that's a fair margin.

Button's been consistently outperforming Kmag in the races, with only a couple of exceptions.

What Ron's saying is he expects Button to be doing that every race and to get his sh*t together in equally.

(Button's equally record is weird - in his early days, e.g BAR, he was labeled as a equally specialist - must be a car/setup thing where he aims more at race setup these days, but still odd he's so often a no-show speed wise in equally, or misses a clean lap etc. - that kind of suggests a mind management issue...)


Damned auto correct! Equally=qually!


I am always somewhat mystified as to what team principals seem to think they're going to achieve by administering such a public dressing down as this, it just seems to be counter productive. As far as alternatives are concerned Hamilton, Alonso & Vettel are all under contract for next year, and Grosjean as talented as he undoubtedly is really a likely replacement for Button? It's all very well saying you want to hire a top driver, but it doesn't look like one is available for next year, and of those that are available, are any of them likely to be demonstrably and immediately better than Button? It seems like Dennis is either posturing for the sake of contract negotiation or seems to think that a public dressing down is going to somehow haul the car 3/4 places up the grid on a consistent basis, both scenarios seems equally unlikely, so what's really going on here James?


I think McLaren/Windmash favoured British drivers- I think reason Jenson got a drive with McLaren. Brawn obviously did not want Jenson, favouring Shuey, so McLaren employed him because he was the best option at the time. However Jenson has been disappointing and I can understand why RD expects Jenson to lift his game if he wants to retain the drive.


Lol Button knew Brawn's wasn't gonna be good in 2010 so left and joined McLaren. And only after that, Brawn approached Schumi.

Kristiane Cyrus

"Brawn obviously did not want Jenson, favouring Shuey"

What?! o_O

You might want to dig up news and info from the end of 2009 season to understand more of that first...


I don't think Ron sees this as a dressing down - he's a very matter-of-fact speaking person who doesn't always consider the human emotions or reactions a person may have to his words, only that he said them and he believes what he said is right.

If the other person doesn't like them, it's their problem.

I guess it's also why a lot of people don't like working with/under him...


apparently he doesn't always consider the fallacious logic inherent in this "matter-of-fact-speaking" you're so keen to defend...


"In qualifying they are 4-4 with Magnussen just shading it on an average qualifying position of 9.375 compared to Button’s 9.625."

Button has always been a poor qualifier. His strengths as a driver lie elsewhere. He's a bit "Alonso-like" in that his finishing position is not heavily determined by his grid position. Even though he was positively trounced by Hamilton in Saturday qualifying, Button usually finished with very similar results on Sunday.


the perception that alonso is somehow a bad qualifier just needs to die. He has one of the all time best qualifying records against his teammates (82%). he thoroughly whipped massa, and now raikkonen, who had some stunning pole laps even against schumi in his prime in his all conquering F2004.

Even in his WORST year against Lewis, the final qualifying record was still only 9-8 in favor of HAM


Not always a poor qualifier. He showed well in qually in some of the earlier BARs.


Poor old Jenson, he's had a tough year one way or another, loosing his beloved dad (we all do, but at least if a parent is old and infirm that we can mentally prepare for that, but to loose John suddenly and with no warning at just 70 years old was cruel to Jenson). And this year's Macca is average at best and a dog's dinner at worst. And Jenson is hardly, in F1 terms, a spring chicken anymore.

But you know what?

I still have faith in the Vroom from Frome.

Personally, I think Ron is talking shite and is somewhat delusional, but twas ever thus. Macca's problems lie more with their woeful technical team rather than squarely on Jenson's broad shoulders. Also, the road car business is a distraction and even a liability regards to on track performance (the road business started in 2009 and guess what? Since 2009 Macca have been going downhill..........go figure on that one).

Look at the talented people who left Macca entirely on their own merits over the years............Mr Lewis Hamilton..........yes, but also Mr Adrian Newey, Mr Pat Fry, Mr Paddy Lowe, Mr John Iley, Mr Luca Furbato and Mr Fernando Alonso amongst others. You cannot have that brain drain at a team, shrug your shoulders, just carry on as normal and blame your two drivers. OK, so Ron isn't entirely to blame for very talented people wanting to leave for pastures new, but as a senior figure at Macca didn't he think, gosh, there a lot of brilliant people deserting this team?

Why are very talented people deserting McLaren? That's the real issue. And the other issue is that they haven't been replaced.

So don't have a go at Jenson Ron. He's not to blame for Macca's technical malaise. You partly are. Jenson is trying his best in a dog's breakfast of a car which you served and plated up for him.

Right, got that off my chest.................


Good analysis overall but I don't buy the "Road Car business is a distraction" argument in the conventional way people think of it. What was more significant about the road car move was that McLaren and Mercedes, in some sense, became competitors away from F1. This, combined with Mercedes seizing on the recession (in a counter-cyclical kind of way) to buy out the Brawn team and enter F1 as a constructor, led (eventually) to McLaren paying for their engines. Thus there was a marked shift in their relationship with Mercedes (I remember another blogger saying "for a while [before 2009], McLaren were almost the works Mercedes team") from quasi-works team (kind of like Red Bull and Renault currently - a warning to Red Bull for their own rumoured engine dreams?) to a more distant customer relationship.


Well said couldn't have put it better


Well said.


[mod]...please tell everyone what the individual motivations were for all those McLaren employees who left? You obviously know these people or perhaps it is wild speculation on your part?

Several engineers have gone to Mercedes including Paddy Lowe. It would be more logical assume that they were poached gone to Mercedes tempted by larger salaries that McLaren would not be able to match. You mentioned just about every employer that has left McLaren in the last 20 years including Adrian Newey BEFORE his current fame. I am sure you appreciate the merry go round of technical staff in F1 and McLaren is not immune and no different to other teams...

Ferrari's also has a much larger budget, and for pound for pound spent, one could argue that Ferrari are not doing any better than McLaren arguably worse.


The thing is, Ferrari know that their weak point is the engine which is frozen for this year. Mclaren have the best engine on the grid and are slower than Force India and WIlliams....


I Agree with your comments on Ferrari, over recent years they have not done as well as McLaren on a much larger budget....

Newey was, i am sure you are aware famous for his work at Williams Engineering before he left at went to work at McLaren.


In my defence, the likes of Gary Anderson, Mark Hughes, Eddie Jordan, Simon Arran and Tony Dodgins have mentioned exactly the same thing: that McLaren have had a severe brain-drain with very talented personnel leaving and Macca hasn't found replacements of the same quality and they are now suffering because of a lack of direction and vision in their aero and engineering depo.

I appreciate that in F1 that personnel move around; that's true, and yes, I suspect Macca are not willing to match the salaries the likes of Merc can offer - yes, you can't discount the fiscal benefits of moving to pastures new. However, this fact remains; Macca have lost an awful lot of very good people in a relatively short space of time and they have to ask themselves this:



Probably because they got sick of the very corporate environment? Or the way things happen? Don't they have a very different design "system"? One team designs, the other one supervises and then next year it's the other way round?

Maybe because there's not enough freedom? Ron obviously is a control freak.

Money perhaps? Clearly other teams can offer more, but it's not like McLaren cannot offer them more too. They just don't want to!!


Mercedes....big bucks......Redbull.....big bucks. Simple. Remember, in the old days it was really only Ferrari that had a bigger budget and success to remot the drivers and engineering talent.


All Jenson can do is beat Kevin. Which he is doing by a decent margin so far. If Kevin is hailed as the next big star by Ron - then surely he should be pushing Jenson anyway and Jenson should be beating him (which sounds exactly like what's happening). As you say the trouble is behind the scenes at McLaren - even Lewis Hamilton couldn't drag the McLarens of recent years anywhere close to the championship - and Jenson did more in terms of championship positions than Lewis - if that doesn't point the blame firmly at a major problem elsewhere I don't think Ron knows as much about F1 as he thinks he does.


in 2012 that mclaren looked like a wdc car friven by lewis,but not button.shame about its reliability.and im pretty sure performances are based on what happens season by season,not 3 seasons at a time.jensons not quick enough to show the true pacel of a car consistently,which makes developement more difficult.


The only thing Button can do is to keep waiting for Alonso decision.


RE AuraF1: I would even go far to say - deep breath - that Ron Dennis is a liability.

Wow, strong statement!

Ask a chap called Mr Newey - he left Macca for many reasons, but one significant decision to dump Woking and head for pastures new at Milton Keynes was because he was driven to distraction by constant managerial interference by Ronspeak.

This is a quote from Steve Rider's book "My Chequered Career." (Haynes Publishing, 2012). It's so eloquent I thought I should quote it here as it epitomes Ron Dennis:

"I always liked Ron Dennis, but on a private jet flight to Valencia, he and then wife Lisa laughed about his obsessive attention to detail and how it showed itself in their home life; it was also evident in every aspect of the design and function of the MTC. A lot of these traits I had also seen in Colin Chapman 20 odd years earlier; it had made Lotus powerful but also brittle and inflexible, and I saw McLaren as the same kind of animal."

Very well put Steve.

Brittle and inflexible - two adjectives that perfectly epitomise Ron Dennis.


Ron like Monty at Ferrari has outlived their used by dates in F1.

They just put unnecesary pressure on their employees which generates no result.


Sadly Jenson Button is on his way out of Mclaren. He may get a year extension but that is looking less likely as the season goes on. The summer break will only increase the inevitable speculation. Mclaren with Ron Dennis at the helm will be looking elsewhere. Mclaren are hunting for Alonso or from their driver program. Lewis is happy for now at Mercedes. Outside possibilities Riccardo, Hulk,Bottas.

Grosjean no way.

Think Jenson may end up at Force India or Williams or Endurance.


i don't understand why you guys don't get it. ron dennis only wants to rattle button's cage so that he can get an upper hand in negotiations. hass will be a new team in 2016 so button can start talking about haas so assert himself in a good position to negotiate for the best deal for himself.


Ron Dennis does not rattle cages he leaves live traps ( for people who he thinks are surplus to requirement) to step on. He's thinking of the future pf Mclaren & you have to build with a solid Anchor aka Alonso for two years with a young buck in car no.two.

So Button sadly will go. Its a Ron trap & " nothing looks like it or snaps shut like it". He did exactly the same to Kovalinen.Tthen Whitmarsh put Button in his place...& now with Ron back...Button is treading tentatively waiting for the the trap to snap shut.


button will not go. what gives you the idea that button will go? all the top drivers are signed up for next year at least and they will not leave their cars for a mclaren.

dennis can be beaten in negotiations just like hamilton showed last season. hamilton learned from his first contract. he was the least paid driver in 2007 and Ron pulled the whole over his manager's eyes to sign a 5 year contract which held him back.

button has nothing to worry about.


button is not on his way out. i think he should also start talking about how refreshing it is for haas to be considering entering f1 in 2016 after all which of the top drivers is willing to leave their car for a mclaren?

bottom should join in the contract negotiation games.


Endurance Racing, he'll probably join his good mate Webber at some point. JB loves a marathon too...


Actually JB has never run a marathon 🙂 And he said he wasn't interested in endurance racing, but times and people DO change...


button would probably make a very good enduro driver. i think the sportscars are pretty exciting at the moment and i wouldn't look at it as a demotion.


Why not Grosjean?

You say Ricciardo, but he'd be nuts to leave RBR.

You say Hulk, but he'd be nuts to leave FI when they're already beating McLaren.

You say Bottas, but he'd be nuts to leave Williams when they've put a lot of faith in him and especially now that they've finally remembered how to build a good car.

Grosjean is a fast driver (I'd say faster than Button) who is in a team that's has gone seriously downhill. McLaren isn't performing on the level they should be either, but I think there's more hope there than at Lotus right now and with EB at McLaren the link is there.

So I say again: Why not Grosjean?


No doubt about it, Grosjean is fast and I'm a big fan of his. But I do sense he can be a sensitive soul and he does require careful man management. And I'm not sure man management has been a McLaren strong point for some time. I remember Grosjean maturing in the second half of 2013, while Perez was booted out of McLaren and thinking: "I don't think McLaren could take a driver like Grosjean was in 2012 and turn him into the driver he became in 2013".

Some teams, like Lotus last season and, in my view, Ferrari with Felipe Massa, are happy to mould themselves around a driver's strengths and weaknesses to get the best out of them. I think they're more accepting that Grand Prix drivers come in different forms, the only pre-requisite is that their commitment to the sport is 100%. With McLaren, I feel (and of course I can only speak as an outside fan) that they have a more intransigent but very precise vision of what an F1 driver should be like (in all areas) and try and ensure that all their drivers conform to this vision. I think this is why some drivers (who perhaps do not conform to the vision in every form) eventually start feeling stifled there, either driving-wise (e.g. Kovalainen, Perez) or personality-wise (e.g. Hamilton, Raikkonen, Montoya).


True, but my impression is that Boullier is a guy who will take that time to look after his drivers. After all, he's the one who helped Grosjean mature a bit in the first place and so if Grosjean did end up at McLaren I'm sure Eric would be happy to give him any support he needed.


i agree random 79 - Why not Grosjean?

maybe lotus and macca could do a straight swap - grosjean for button.

looks like lotus will be powered by merc engines in '15.

grosjean might be put-off by the possibility that the first year with honda / mac could be another character building season.


"grosjean might be put-off by the possibility that the first year with honda / mac could be another character building season"

That's a good point, but the flip side is that it could also be a defining season for him.


Grosjean is not Mclaren material. Sorry. Grosjean would have to perform frm the get go.

However bad Mclaren is performing at present. ..they are still a top team. Grosjean would not ne mentioned. They only reason he is being mentioned is because of Boullier being at Mclaren. Personally even his presence is a odd fit. I reckon plans & meetings have already taken place regarding Buttons replacement. ...and it won't be Grosjean. He may be fast at times but he is not in the league of Alonso. While you give your reasons regarding Hulk Bottas Riccardo...they have a better chance of being at Mclaren than Grosjean.

I also reckon Boullier won't have any input regarding who Mclaren choose. It's Ron & Mclarens Boards choice. Infact Boullier is such an odd fit for Mclaren which may be a temporary fit too ( however he performed at Lotus).Grosjean has more chance of winning "Come Dine with Me" than getting a chance at Mclaren. Grosjean no chance.

at Mclaren.


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'm starting to get the impression that you don't think Grosjean will end up at McLaren 🙂

kenneth chapman

@ random 79.....grosjean certainly has speed and he is a tenacious driver who seems to have mended his somewhat errant [and dangerous] ways. i believe he'd be a good fit at maclaren if they were to accept his past and concentrate on his future. i certainly hold ron dennis in high esteem simply for what he has achieved in F1and he would need to be prepared to accomodate grosjean to a certain extent but boullier has his number and would be the right guy to mentor grosjean into the team.

on a different note random...where are you based?


Yep that was pretty spectacular...but it was also two years ago and Grosjean's learned a thing or two since then such as:

Cars are supposed to stay on the ground.

Two cars cannot co-exist in the same space.

Most drivers do not like other drivers trying to give them a hair cut 🙂


RE Random 79: Remember when the Romain Empire nearly cut Nando's head off? That was literally a close shave!




Well,...its like this

Granted he is def a fast driver, on his day, it's just that part of his dna says 'crasher'. I know he has been rehabilitated somewhat. But it's like being the owner of a killer mastif. You got it muzzled and on a lead. But when will it cut loose....


Even the best drivers are going to crash every now and again but as you say he's a damn sight better than he was a couple years back, and frankly if you're a team principal like Dennis you'd probably prefer a semi-tamed killer mastif for a driver anyway 😉

I really do think it might happen, but time will tell.


I have always felt Ron never particularly liked Button. I'm not suggesting Ron disliked him, but never favoured him for a McLaren drive. Definitely going to be a tough try to get either Ham or Alo back.

I hope Koby gets a chance though, esp now that Honda is committed to partner with McLaren. The Koby-Kamakazi definitely deserves a top drive, esp. of the moves he made on Alo in 2012 Valencia plus numerous other great driving in a lesser car.


i have been following F1 since the 90s and Kobayashi is the best of all Japanese driver since that time. His skill of overtaking is good.

I think James is a nice guy, but he is not a good driver. He been in F1 for more than a decade and he never exited me. Just like Coulthard, a descent driver but nothing special. The reason JB and DC lasted so long in F1 is due to the companies are based in England.

Finally Ron Davis is alot of crap, it was he who promoted MW as the new boss for years. Now he totally ignore MW. Ron Davis is a snake.


I too would love to see Kamui in a top team. If Ron really wants to shake-up a team, really shake it up... adding Kamui would certainly do that! No dount about that. He's fast, reliable, hell he nearly put a Sauber on pole at Spa, only to be taken out by that first lap nutcase.


I'd like to see that too, but I don't think it will happen.

Kristiane Cyrus

Well there's still hope. Afterall Koby drove was part of Ferrari for a year and even drove for their endurance racing customer team.

Koby has been the best Japanese F1 driver there's ever been and by quite a far margin, if he could pull a move off on Alonso successfully it does reflect his high quality. Hope Honda's return may help.


Nakajima wasnt too bad either. He had some good drives in 2008 if I remember correctly.


I think it's common knowledge at McLaren that Ron still sees Jenson as part of the Whitmarsh structure and the animosity he felt for Martin was a lot worse than people realize.


Why? Whitmarsh seemed like a good guy. Maybe that's why Ron didn't like him. Ron Dennis really is one unpleasant individual.


He may be an unpleasant guy but he's an Angel in comparison to the Pudding Basin hair unit wearing Bernie "Eckythump" Ecclestone.


Kristiane Cyrus

I wouldn't say it's "common knowledge", as Ron never came out and said 'Right, I don't want Jenson in my team', it's a common rumour as far as it goes, but not knowledge.


I am a huge Jenson supporter but I don't see the passion in him anymore. Whether that is down to he car or his Dad's passing is debatable, but something is off.

If he does walk away I woulds like to Nico Hulkenberg in the seat next year.


Funny, Renault also was ''a little behind in its preparations with the V6 turbo hybrid engine''


- Ron Dennis is right. If you are paid big bucks then prove that you are better against atleast a rookie.

- New regulations have probably levelled the field between experienced and new drivers, definitely not helped Button.

On separate note but same logic:

- Vettel is in a similar problem (not exactly same) and over shadowed by Daniel. Vettel is also told by Helmut Marko to raise his game.

- Kvyat is another guy who has built a good reputation against Vergne in rookie season. If this continues tough times may be ahead for JEV.

- It may be just a matter of time before people will start asking similar questions from Kimi Raikonnen after consistently getting beat.


Excellent points all. Jenson is quickly approaching the end of his competitive F-1 driving career no matter what he says to the media. The future of the sport is; younger, lighter, and less well paid drivers.

Don't worry though, Ron Dennis and Bernie Ecclestone will still be around entertaining us with their words of wisdom.


I hope McLaren shows JB the exit door. Jenson is a good racing driver but he is not what McLaren need at the moment to get back to the top. He had his chance and all the resources of McLaren to build a car after his preferences but McLaren is going backwards and I can't see a bright future for them with a development driver like Button.

Yes he is occasionally very good and sometimes outstanding but this is not enough. You need 19 good races not only 2 or 3. Sometimes he lost the path with setup as well. I can remember the Canadian GP 2012 when Hamilton won the race and JB was 1 lap down in 16th. I really can't see such lacklustre performances anymore. One has to wonder if this is it worth to have a WC in the car instead of a driver who can outperform it but isn't a champion (e.g. Hülkenberg) in terms of marketing which is very important for McLaren?

McLaren has to try everything to get Alonso or Hamilton back. These drivers can develop the car and are 2 tenths faster than JB on top. The times are nowadays that close that 2 tenths are sometimes up to 5 places in Qualifying and you can't afford to give away that.

If Alonso and Hamilton are not available than they maybe have to try to get Vettel. He is maybe frustrated with the car and Ric and is therefore an option...


Yes that 2 tenths could be down to height /weight ratio so that blows that out the window


James, what do you mean by 'Stage 1' and 'Stage 2' engines?


First year and second year

Christopher Cathles

Ah, but Honda have the advantage of seeing the problems other engine suppliers have had, and can avoid making the same errors


Mclaren have had the Honda engine in the car since June 2012. I've got a photo of the car taken when i was on a visit there on the Friday night.


Too late to copy?

Hasn't this been known for months now?

If I start today, I can build my own, working engine of paper machée with seperate turbo by the time the 2015 season starts!

Joke aside, I cannot understand these things take so long, given the huge ressources these companies have available. One should think they want to win, well... They better start working day and night to implement the finesses that are already known, if they want an actual chance next year...

Am I wrong?


I would think the Honda engine's main design features must have been established before any of this season's engine differences became apparent. So I don't think they will gain that much by seeing what is currently happening. Some details may still be changeable but for things like Merc's decision to separate the turbo into two parts, Honda would probably be too late to copy.

Also it is one thing to know that Merc has a big advantage over Renault and Ferrari, and quite another to know why or to copy it.


James as a Mclaren fan I'm destroyed after you said that for next year Honda is behind.

But it's important if they are behind their target scheduled for this time of the year (if this is the case, than Mclaren is finished) or if they are behind compared to Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari who are one year ahead Honda.


It seems to me that Button's problem has mostly been qualifying. More often than not his races are very good, but for some reason he seems to struggle in getting a good grid position. Also McLaren are not even in the game at the moment, so the best they can hope for is 4th or 5th if they are lucky. Even if they had Alonso or Hamilton I don't see them doing that much better. You would think after the terrible year they would have come up with a design that is a consistent podium challenger.


All interesting views. JB isn't top drawer. He is good but I wouldn't want him in my car. No way hammy will go and I wouldn't think teflonso would consider it. They need to get the hulk in. He is as good as any of them (with possible exception of Teflon) and would be far hungrier, he hasn't win yet.


Hulkenberg and Perez to Ferrari.

After seeing almost half the season I think both complement very well. One is very consistent bringing the ponits as a hammer, the other is spectacular and always on the limit. A pleasure to watch.

The problem is that Hulk + Magnussen is not as exciting as Hulk + Perez and at Ferrari a Raikonnen + Perez is neither.

So, both Hulk + Perez to Ferrari

Alonso + Magnussen in McLaren

Raikonnen and Button to retirment.


How's Hulk doing against Perez this year? When the opportunity for FI to get good results has been there, this year it's been Perez that's doing it...


59 points against 28 suggests otherwise. Hulk has 4 5th positions so far this season.


what's annoying is when JB beats Kevin people say "good drive by JB, Kevin isn't doing well enough" but when Kevin beats JB I hear "terrible job by JB, he should leave."

it's stupid, surely they should be expecting Kevin to beat JB at times just like Lewis did with Alonso.


But Lew Lew beat Alonso outright that first year too don't forget (albeit Alonso had lost the team relationship during the year which would have hurt his performances)

KMag - hard to judge him in that car right now; Lewis had a great car when he joined MCL, so it would be harsh to writhe off KMag based on not showing as well a Lewis did in a quick car, but you do get the feeling they haven't found the next Hamilton in Kevin...


Tbf Alonso beat Lewis 10-7 in races that year. I'm fascinating as to who will win out of Jenson-Mag...That said, I can't see where JB might end up if he does have to leave?


I like JB a lot. He seems a good guy. I also think he's a good driver. I don't, however, really think he's a great driver. He got to be a world champion by being in the right car at the right time. As much as I don't really like Dennis' way of saying it, he's correct. Button should be doing better against a rookie teammate.

I suspect we're seeing the last of JB at McLaren and possibly even in his F1 career. He's been around a long time. I don't see him wanting to downgrade his drive, but which top team is going to give him a seat? Kind of sucks to see him going out with a whimper instead of a bang.


Being in the right car at the right time - you could say the same about the likes of Hulme, Hunt, Andretti, Scheckter, Jonsey, Piquet, Lauda, Our Nige, Damon Villeneuve Senior,, Mika, Fernando, Kimi, Lewis - even Sebastian..........................but there's a reason why a driver ends up in the right car at the right time - it's because their smart enough to think ahead and realise when a team is coming to championship maturity - a good example being Jonsey, who joined Williams at the start of 1978 when they wern' that great, but Alan knew that Patrick Head was a top engineer who would eventually get the team in a championship winning direction - which he did.

I think any driver who wins a WDC is worthy of it; its a 9 month odd contest spread over several continents and umpteen different circuits and countries. I would never decry any driver who has won the championship because it's a very exclusive and elite club.


I'd say even Schumi, though I'd also argue he was a big part in getting his cars developed (harder to do that now without private test days all year round and huge the development efforts)

Kristiane Cyrus

Yes I agree with you mostly, but then there is a different between being a good driver and a great driver if someone like Senna or Alonso can still pull off great drivers in a mediocre car rather than finishing where the car ought to be. Button cannot do the same.


Isn't Jenson one of the overrated British drivers?


No that's Lulu,


Yes, I think Jenson's time is up. He is not good enough to drag the car round like Alonso or Hamilton, and what we are seeing is that Vettel is actually not so special in a car that does not suit him- actually a bit Buttonesque really. I think Hulkenberg is a good shout though, but it is a change is as good as a rest strategy- I doubt he his that better than Button we shall see. Can Macca get Alsonso ( as a clear no 1) or Hamilton? No chance.

Anyway in my view the key to success is actually the car designers- Ron, I would not worry about the drivers, spend the money on the next Newey


@ ajay

you are spot on mate about Seb vettel. HE is not a good pilot as much as people try to Perceive him, while lewis and Alonso are extraordinary pilots who can achieve great results with miserable cars. Actually other than mercedes domination and williams Renaissance vettel's ability is the most important topic in the padock now. Lot of team principals also know confess that fact vettel is not unbeatable and he is clearly rattled by the performances of Dan Ricciardo

Mclaren have to bow down and sign either lewis or Alonso back into the team to win WDC'S. They have no chocice with pilots like Romain, hulkenburg or with few others as we already seen the perez experiment which did not work, Magnussen does not look like a lewis-esque pilot either

I like JB and i want him to see in F1 for another couple of seasons. If not with Mclaren maybe with some other teams


What cars have Alonso or Hamilton ever "dragged around"? Over the course of three seasons driving the same car as Button, Hamilton scored slightly fewer points.


Tbf Lewis was much unluckier with reliability problems, particularly in 2012. He was also taken out by Grosjean (Spa) and Maldonado (Val) and was let down countless times by the team in the first half of the year.

Alonso dragged the 2011 Ferrari around, a car that was clear 3rd best behind Macca and RB. Then there was the 2012 Ferrari which he scored countless podiums with, which on a good day was one of the 'two fastest cars' and that's it. It also received next to no updates that worked after Spain.


Why would McLaren hire Hulkenburg when Hulkenburg hasn't been doing that well of late against Perez now that the season is underway?

Hire a guy that is not exactly smashing the guy that McLaren just fired would not look good for McLaren. I do not see why Hamilton/Alonso would want to swap to a noncompetitive car either. I wouldn't go to just because Honda is partnering with McLaren as both Hamilton/Alonso are already in works teams.

I find it more plausible that Grosjean moves there if they want a change from Button at the end of the season.


Spot on. Ferrari are learning the same lesson.....now matter how much you spend on top drivers like Alonso or Hamilton, it can only make up for a certain amount of shortfall in the car's performance.....a good team of engineers are priceless. As a collective, perhaps they should be paid the same as the top drivers?


When you mention vettel do you consider the performance of his car this season?

Be fair - if he gets the performance in the car with reliability to match his team mate and does not deliver, fine.

But that dig is uncalled for.


Sorry, was not meant as a gig per say- I really like Vettel, it sorted jumped out when I was thinking who were the really special drivers. I am as surprised as others at his struggles this season even when he had no car issues compared to Ricco

kenneth chapman

well thompson....i am not so sure sure of that. yes, vettel has had a run of very bad 'luck' to date but on more than one occasion ricciardo has simply outdriven vettel on a one on one basis.

granted , those occasions are not numerous but they do show that vettel is left wanting at times, when a 4 x WDC should be dominating, simply based on experience. marko has already alluded to this matter in a conspicuous public manner.

the 'dig', IMO was called for.

Kristiane Cyrus

The performance is there, it's just reliability.

When the car works, he's still behind Daniel.


funny but we are talking about drivers taking the seat of a slower / worse car at the minute. would the hulk really want to be in that car right now, with an unknown engine ? or stay with a well developed Force India ? Kobi is a great idea though !


force india gets half their car from mclaren and all in f1 know that mclaren is a huge team with a lot more potential than most.


I think Vijay canceled that deal this, they're now getting half their stuff from Mercedes I think.


you're right, i forgot about that. even so mclaren is a more well resourced than force india.


I agree with that. McLaren themselves really need to up their game as well and that isn't happening...


Has Magnussen really shown anything special (Hamilton like)? Why wouldn't Honda prefer a driver who drove for them for many seasons, won their last Grand Prix, is a former world champion, was a massively popular winner of the Japanese Grand Prix and is engaged to be married to a beautiful part Japanese woman.....Mmm, nah they'd go for Kevin the Kid every time...I reckon Ron realises this and is deploying his well known motivational skills a subtly was usual..


If you look at the difference in qualifying to KMag and JB's performance relative to Hamilton you'd say that JB was stacking up better, i.e. that KMag is not as fast as Lewis who destroyed JB in quali.

Apart from the fact that I am a JB fan, it doesn't make sense to boot out JB and keep Kevin and replace with Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso. Look what happened when they replaced Alonso with KOV.

If I could get another headline driver I would and keep JB. That would surely translate into more points for the team.


Kovalainen was number 2 driver, and Lewis number 1.


I agree with your first point, not with your second (I think JB's alright though), and have been pondering the third. I have a feeling Button's heading for the exit, and will be out of F1, with Magnussen kept if he can improve this season, or he will go, too. Will it be the end of this year or the next, and who will be McLaren's replacements?

Some possible options.

Hulkenberg, Alonso, Bianchi, Bottas, Grosjean, Vettel, Kvyat (based on current performance continuing).


Bottas has quality, just needs to get some more consistency. Alonso would be great, if he could stand being there with Ron calling the shots. Hulk needs a team behind him to get him at his best after his confidence has been hurt by not getting the seats he (probably) deserved, but he's still a good shout.


What is all this fuss over Hulkenberg? whats he done? JB is one of the best Mag is not good enough so if Jensen has to go then I think Kev should too. But the world ain't a fair place so maybe it's bye bye Jensen. Still can't see Mclaren doing much better with anyone else, if Lewis couldn't make it go well then I doubt anyone else will do better.


Hulkenberg is a fine driver. Considering he's punished by his height/weight in this year's regulations, he's doing a great job. He's great in wet conditions, and apart from 2010, outscores his team-mates, and looks set to do the same against Perez, who was competitive against Kobayashi. He has raced the Force India and Sauber to good places against quicker cars.


James, Honda are a little behin compared to their targets at this moment of the year, or compared to Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault? If they are behind their schedule, than Mclaren is in big trobles. Please respond.


Why aren't Honda developing their own ERS along with their engine?

I thought the whole reason they decided to return was that they were excited about the new energy recovery formula and were keen to demonstrate their expertise.


I wondered this too?

Could it be because Mclaren is also interested in the technology to apply on their road cars?

Maybe there will be Honda powered Mclaren road cars in the future!


"Maybe there will be Honda powered Mclaren road cars in the future!"

Maybe, but then again back in the 80's I was led to believe that there would be hover cars in the future so I won't be holding my breath 😉


I wondered the same thing.

The other reason for developing their own would be that they could better sell the whole PU package to teams other than McLaren.

Not to mention that these components seem to have a tremendous dependency on each other so developing them in separate teams with 6000 miles and 8 time zones between them doesn't seem ideal.


With McLaren having developed the P1 (and that tech powering the Formula E cars), I guess McLaren already have an idea how to make that side of things work. I guess its lets Honda focus on the ICE side of things.

That said... surely the power unit being built by two different companies on opposite sides of the world is just another disappointment in the making.


He does not belong at McLaren, and never has. He is not especially fast over one lap and is not able to extract enough out of a pig to put it on the podium on a regular basis. He is a 7.5/10 who was in the right place at the right time in 2009. He had the best car in 2012 and only managed to finish fifth.


Best car?!? It was the fastest car at some races yes, but usually also broke down in those races! Fastest car best car. At some races (GBR, EUR, BHN) it was dreadful.

It obviously wasn't the easiest car to manage, or else how do you explain Hamilton winning in Canada with it, while on the same day Button ends up a lap down in it?! If anyone can find me a similar example like that, wherein a driver laps their teammate, with normal races (i.e. not affected by race incidents) for both, I'd love to see it.

The best car in 2012 was clearly the RB8. Both Hamilton and Button would snap your hand off, to jump into that car for the whole season (race by race they might've rather stayed in the McLaren, but to have one car for the entire season it would easily be the RB8).


... and that was "Fastest car does not equal best car", but I used programming language brackets. Let's try it here:

Fastest car < > best car.


What does that say about Hamilton who had the fastest car in 2012 and finished fourth, a whopping two points ahead of Button?

alexander supertramp

I have no idea why you drag Lewis into this.. Anyway, Lewis was arguably a lot stronger than JB in 2012, points definitely don't tell the whole story on this occasion.


Did you actually watch the 2012 season, if ham had a had the slightest bit of luck he would have finished 50 plus points ahead of jenson, and I dont think button would disagree with that..


It says that if Hamilton had the reliability of Button that Hamilton would have been WC and Button would have finished 5th........


Ok, so if McLaren is going for a proven driver and it won't be Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso, then who? Romain Grosjean is fast, but then again he has yet to win a race let alone a championship. Nico Hulkenberg? Sergio Perez? Same thing. Ricciardo or Rosberg? I don't know their contract situations but regardless I don't see them moving anytime soon, especially considering Mercedes could be out front for a couple years yet...

So that leaves Vettel who would likely be cautious about moving to a lesser team when all teams will be struggling to catch up to Mercedes for the next couple of years

The only other outside possibility is Raikkonen. He has a contract with Ferrari, but history has shown how much a contract over there means, plus perhaps there is a performance clause in his current contract that he can leave Ferrari early if it under-performs (and it certainly has). Also, isn't it common knowledge that Ron Dennis LOVES Raikkonen? (I think Kimi is the only man to make him weep following his crazy win at Suzuka). Kimi may be struggling with this year's Ferrari ATM, but it's happening to Vettel too so no driver is immune to car setup. So it may not be so far-fetched that Kimi goes to McLaren, at least for one or two years until the driver market opens up again. I think it would be cool for Raikkonen to go back to McLaren and tidy up unfinished business since he might have won a couple more titles there if not for bad luck, and as things look that may never happen at Ferrari.


"No driver is immune to set up". Hamilton can drive very fast with whatever is thrown at him, while Alonso is actually "almost" immune to set up. Coincidentally, these are the second best and best drivers respectively, so I would say these ocasional bad performances of the likes of Vettel and Kimi are actually much more telling that what most people think. The signature of the great driver is to always drive fast, whatever the conditions. That's what talent is about. Who tells a team principal that Kimi or Vettel are not going to struggle at some point with the car his team is giving them? It is not as if the team knows a driver and is able to build the car to his liking, that's a common erroneous way of thinking of many fans. Look at Vettel this year for example. There are too many variables, and the driver has to adapt. Plus there are updates that a driver may not like, but if driven properly make the car faster. Adaptability to different set ups and conditions is key in F1.


"Hamilton can drive very fast with whatever is thrown at him, while Alonso is actually “almost” immune to set up."

That is so untrue.

"Hamilton can drive very fast with whatever is thrown at him."

Then, why he lost to Button during his stay in Macca?

Alonso is actually “almost” immune to set up.

Then, why Ferrari has been concentrating on him for the last 5 years. And they have been building car which “accidentally” suits his driving style.


thinktank, if they only handed out the WDC to the McLaren drivers between 2010-2012, what would the WDC tally read as?

There is no such thing as a 3-year points championship. Fact is Button was never really in the WDC fight in any of the 2010-2012 seasons. There never was talk of Hamilton aiding Button's WDC bid (b/c Vettel was too far ahead in 2011), while there was such talk in both 2010 and 2012 re: Button aiding Lewis' title bids.



Please, compare all points, when they were in Mac.


How did lewis loose to button,2010/2012 to lewis, thats 2 1 to lewis, more wins, more podiums, more poles, all button fans can grasp is 2011 when lewis went a bit crash street kid, still won 3 races same as button


Very well said!

Definition of "the greatest driver ever" should keep changing with what your fav driver's status quo is.

From -> the guy who drives the car and takes selfies -> guy who drives and sells himself saying he outdrives the car by 145.32% -> guy who gives feedback and develops the car best (after five long years of that) -> one who adapts to any car, any being the new turbo generation (when we talk about adapting, its better we forget how he complained about Pirelli more than anybody else, a year or two back)

Kristiane Cyrus

Agree with you about Kimi.

I thought Martin Whitmarsh was absolutely mad not to hire Raikkonen when he had the chance. As far as what was mentioned in the press and everything we can read, it seems the mechanics there still love Kimi, so settling in certainly wouldn't be a problem, definitely not as big as settling into Ferrari where the team was already developed around Alonso after 4 years away from the team, if any.


I really do hope Jenson can stay around if not in the sport than atleast in the public eye contesting another high profile sport. He is the most pleasant person to listen to in interviews.

If Mclaren dont want to keep Jenson I can only see Alonso or Raikkonen being the only solid replacement. Grosjean zones out during races loosing focus awareness of track events.

It would be great to see Kobayashi get a look. He did impress more than Perez did when they were both at Sauber.


I have a feeling that this is Kimi's last year in F1. He doesn't seem to have his heart in it any more, and it's hard to imagine him being excited by the current state of McLaren or the possible teething troubles of the new Honda PU.


Watch again Spanish GP, and tell me Kimi "doesn’t seem to have his heart in it any more"... That is not the problem, neither motivation. His problem is Alonso is much better than him, which is being accentuated by a huge change in regulations which requires huge amounts of adaptability, and by Ferrari building a slow and oversteery car which, adding the difficulty to work the Pirelli tires in the correct temperature window, is really difficult to drive.


Amen to that. Kimi in a McLaren. Favorite driver in my favorite team




turn out the lights, the parties over Jensen, take your money and retire, you've been up, you've been down, you've done all you'll do, enjoy the moment, I'm sure you'll find plenty of British motorsports opportunities, ENJOY!


it's far from over, this is dennis positioning himself for an upper hand in their upcoming contract negotiations.


This time was always coming.

I genuinely believe the car is better than we being led to believe. We have all seen what can happen when development is led down the wrong path. (Button has been here before)

Without Hamilton's input this would be McLaren's 7th poor season (consider if kovi was the lead driver and Hamilton never drove for them.)

Given the right car Button can and has delivered but he - imo - won't make it happen.

Imo - Bianchi is the man Macca should be looking at. Forget Hamilton and Alonso. Hulk has I've said is being done over by Perez - ignore this all you want but watch.

Grosjean - a fair call worth considering

But if anyone deserves an opportunity it's Bianchi - he scored points for marussia - he appears to know how to set up his car and is fast.

Not sure how he gets no mention.



Kristiane Cyrus

Beware of your testing, RBR might call for a race ban!


Results inconclusive.


They just want Lewis in the car knowing he can do something exciting. Even if he smashes into someone, you get hit or miss. Ron has been saying this and that about the car earlier in the year but since his car is rubbish, he wants to take it out on the drivers.

Over the years they could rely on Lewis to get that extra bit out of the car, move it up the grid on Saturday and allow for Sunday to be somewhat easier. I am not saying Button then copied Lewis setting the car up but you can bet your life savings Button looked at the data, saw where Lewis was quicker and this gave him a hurry up.

In life, it is much easier to do something that you see someone else do first. Maybe driving is the same way. You see him brake 10 meters later, then you know the car can handle it.

Are McLaren finding that limit with their current drivers? Not really. Button isn't that sort of guy and Mag is ok but personally I think their lineup was stronger last year. And stronger the year before that.

Alonso or Lewis on the car would give a better indicator of the outright limit I feel. I'd say go for Vettel too but then you might as well say grab Ric based on this season.

I expect we will see Lewis or Alonso in the McLaren car in 2016.


"They just want Lewis in the car knowing he can do something exciting. Even if he smashes into someone, you get hit or miss"

Why not just give Maldonado the drive and get an bonus 30m into the bargain? 🙂


They say that truth can be stranger than fiction. Would not entirely rule that one out! £30 milion is not to be sneezed at even by maclaren.


Valid point 🙂 I am sure Pastor will be banned by then anyway. Once Lotus sort their car out and Pastor is running flat out, watch out everyone else.


Jens saw off Hamilton, that's is not the mark of a second rate driver.

He is a hard worker, and disciplined. That appeals to Ron. My abiding memory of the BUT/HAM years is of Jens always busy with the engineers while Lewis was usually perched on an upper shelf doing his social media.

I think Lewis left McL because Jens had the upper hand there, esp in 2011. Lew could have put up with the many dnf's and balls ups, but not with being de facto no.2 in the team. If Ron was smart [and he is] he should let Jens see off Alonso too.

Now that would be Ron's sweet revenge on the blackmailer.


I think something significant changed in Austria. JB went backwards and KM went better... I note the Bouliier was beforehand singing JB's praises and letting it be known he wanted him to stay - a mere formality. Now, suddenly, Dennis the Menace is spitting blood in public. I think he had no need to do that and before Silverstone too. Will Dennis wear a pink shirt? He could have spoken prvately to JB.

So, he's looking to take the heat off himself and his inability to give JB a winning car - he promised they#'d win races this year - not with that car they won't. It also seems he's got someone else to drive for him next year - my guess is Alonso. I note there was little between LH and JB in performance. KM is not another LH by any stretch.

It also shows that EB is nothing but a front for Dennis' decisons.

So, weill now see JB's car take on the charactersitics of KImi's car and Lewis's...

What's the fetish with Finnish drivers Dennis has?

Maybe Max Mosley was right in saying Ron dennis lacked passion.


there was a huge difference in performance,especially in 2012.it was so obvious mclaren would struggle once lewis left.with lewis they won races every season,without him,not much is going on.


C'mon guys, give Jenson a break. He recently lost his father. Strategically, he's far more valuable working with Honda to make a driveable, champion power unit.

kenneth chapman

i think that perhaps it is time for JB to pack up and go. he's had his time up there with the best and he has been rewarded handsomely for his efforts.

i'm pretty sure that he is aware of this and has most likely already chosen his future which would be based on a number of different scenarios which will unfold over the next few months.

when webber made the decision he did it on his own terms and he didn't stick around looking for extensions, which usually lead to a downgrade anyway. i still cringe when i think of barrichello and how he carried on. extremely embarrassing for all concerned. button needs to avoid this.

JB is/was a top drawer driver. not great and never will be. his talents are numerous and he would be an asset to lots of people/teams. he did say at one stage that he wouldn't consider WEC but that was a while back. with his style and knowledge i feel as though it is time for him to try LMP1 and see what he can do there. great opportunities lie in this category which is the current 'pinnacle of motorsport'.


Barrichello wasn't a WDC so he had less to lose than Button has now. Also Barrichello was just after making money while he still could.

kenneth chapman

@ HP.... your first point has no relevance. we are talking about the future here. some people just overstay their welcome...in so many words. as for your second point that is also irrelevant as is is a subjective analysis without any reliable substantiation.

whilst i can't be sure, somewhere i seem to have read that barrichello even offered to drive for free just so long as he could get a drive. i could well be wrong on this though.


That is such a public rebuke - Button is surely on the way out of McLaren. Plus Ron's comments about being happy to have Alonso back, shows he is keen to have a top flight driver in the car next year. Honda will expect it. So who will it be? Vettel? Alonso? Hamilton ? Doubt Hamilton will want to leave a winning Merc. Alonso to replace Button next year?

This would then leave a gap at Ferrari - which raises the question about Vettel seeking a new challenge and move on from getting beaten by his junior team-mate. He has already been linked to Ferrari previously. Plus Ferrary always have enough cash to buy out other driver's contracts.

What's the feeling in the paddock - or is it too early to tell?


Has anyone wondered if Honda has any veto power on a driver they prefer?

Surely their contract is negotiated that it should work both ways.


Sad to hear this about Jenson. He is one of the smartest racers on the grid at the moment. He may not have outright pace to edge the best of the best in F1 all the time, but he's always calm and calculating during races. On the leader board, Jenson is ahead of Kevin. Qualifying tally is even. Why complain?

Monza 2012. Button was calmly waiting to see what would happen between Schumi and Hammy. As soon as Button saw an opportunity, he pounced. Great defending by Schumi on that one too. All old drivers, if not also old school, are struggling on Management 1. Oops err Formula 1 😀


Alonso is also an old driver, but not that old. There's no doubt he deserves the praise he gets every time he's on track. But, he does have and has had a lot of backing from his team - a clear no 1. He also has Ferrari's in-house sim at his own home. How many drivers have that advantage? Please correct me if I'm wrong about this.


You can tell that Alonso has a Ferrari simulator because when he turns it on all the street lights within a three block radius of his house start flickering.


@ Lohani

Your points does not make a lot of sense

What is wrong with Ferrari when they give Alonso the undisputed status in the team?

For the past 5 seasons or so who has performed better than the other? Whether it's Alonso the pilot or Ferrari team? - Undoubtedly it is the wizard Fernando Alonso have outperformed the entire team

Alonso is old? Yes Age is factor in F1. Yet for a pilot like Alonso who breath and dreams about F1 all the time Age is no Barricade. Alonso will deliver even if any team can provide him a competitive machinery a dominant machinery would be auxiliary though and not required for the Calibre of Alonso

Finally the advantage you claim Alonso have is not a gain at all. Ferrari have wasted his peak performances and years through sub-standard cars and will continue to do so in the future as well. I do not have any hope when it comes to the Ferrari team bar Alonso

If i hold the position which ron have now it's no brainer i will go after Alonso and get his signature. Does not matter whatever Fernando demands i will push the team to provide all the benefits.


@ Lohani

Well, i can agree with you partly

However, i say you are little delusional with "The Ferrari hasn’t been that bad in those 5 years. Alonso just got the best out of the car than Massa. He’s doing the same against Kimi right now – dragging the Ferrari where it should be. The Ferrari isn’t being dragged to where it isn’t supposed to be. This is a fallacy" - I clearly deny this Polemical story which does not have any substance

When Brawn started to dominate in 2009 RBR did take the fight to the BRawn later in 2009. Ever since then RBR have had no pretenders in terms of Technical excellence and the cars which they produced between 2010 to 2013. Mclaren ranned RBR close in 2010 & 2012. Whereas Ferrari were poor and have a team which consists feckless technical crew and Boss who later resigned after the first 4 races in 2014. Alonso have certainly put the car in places which it does not belong at all. The classic example was 2012 where Ferrari have started the season 1.5 secs adrift of RBR and ended the season with good 0.8 to 0.9 tenths behind RBR. Yet Alonso have took a stunning victory at the 2012 malaysian GP. Again in Silverstone and Hockhenheim Alonso took pole in very difficult conditions and converted the German GP into race victory where he had both JB and Seb vettel in his mirrors for 67 laps. Alonso have kept Ferrari in the title hunt solely based on his exertions until the last race and Lotus pilots have stopped Alonso in 2012 from winning WDC

Moreover Massa's recent pole at Austrian GP 2014 clearly serves as a clear evidence that Massa has lost none of his hunger and nor the pace. Ferrari's were not just slow and the cars were miserable to drive as well. Massa himself have confessed early in 2014 he felt the Ferrari's were difficult to drive and the pace was not there as well. One more important note is Massa is still easily faster than Raikkonen

Hence if you noticed car and pace advantage closely which Ferrari have produced in relation to what RBR have provided Seb vettel between 2010-2013, it's a complete tosh and charade. Vettel's recent struggles make it very clear that he had Unassailable car advantage which enabled him to Notch 4X WDC. Still vettel had to beat webber which he did and fair play to vettel. Yet Ricciardo have already proved the 4X WDC is beatable. Helmut marko have confessed that vettel needs a perfect car to deliver results whereas Dan ricciardo can drive around the problems of the car.

Alonso can deliver the results irrespective the machineries he drove or drives for, other pilots bar L.Hamilton are not capable of such feats. This has been confessed time and time again by all the team principals and people in the paddock


Hello Krischar,

You probably misunderstood what I was saying. I did say Alonso deserves all the credit he gets. There's nothing wrong with him having no. 1 status. But, I don't think one can deny that no. 1 pilots don't benefit from preferential treatment. If he does have a state-of-the-art Ferrari simulator at home, that's equivalent to Alonso being the only current F1 driver to have unlimited virtual testing in a team simulator. Again, correct me if I'm wrong about this. I'm not questioning his passion and drive. The only person he has beaten in those 5 years is Massa. Still, I won't use this against him. He has done a fantastic job.

As for the old age issue, I was insinuating that these new cars aren't allowing clinical and hard racers of yesteryear to push as much they're capable of, so they're talents (which probably gave them their edge) are not shining through as much. Things are much different now than they used to be in the 90's and 00's. So, in a way, I was talking on behalf of Alonso, rather than against him. He's the only relatively old driver on the grid today who is still reinventing the steel. I think it's largely due to Ferrari being relatively behind in those 5 years. Alonso has had to constantly learn and mature. This has made him even better. This is my opinion, obviously.

The RB's were much more mightier in their 4-year WCC reign, just like Mercedes are much more mightier right now. The Ferrari hasn't been that bad in those 5 years. Alonso just got the best out of the car than Massa. He's doing the same against Kimi right now - dragging the Ferrari where it should be. The Ferrari isn't being dragged to where it isn't supposed to be. This is a fallacy. Alonso has simply got the best out of the car.

As for Ferrari, they haven't recovered from the unlimited testing era. RB and Merc are doing a much, much better job that Ferrari in this era. A team like Ferrari, which is synonymous to F1, can't just collapse. Yes, Ferrari doesn't have the dream team of Schumi, Brawn, Byrne, Todd. It isn't quite like Alonso is the superhuman and the whole of Italy is talentless. You win as a team, you lose as a team. Alonso is a great driver, but probably not the best guy to get the maximum out in a team scenario. Sometimes, you need both to dominate.


Highly unlikely that it might happen. But....

Alonso to Mclaren

Hamilton to Ferrari ( If he loses the title to Rosberg and Alonso moves out to Mclaren )

Vettel to Mercedes

Kvyatt to Redbull

Alonso moving out of Ferrari would trigger the driver markets


Nice scenario but will never happen.


Jenson Button - the most undeserving and overrated WDC in the history of F1. Very sad to see him given so much credit when he deserves very little.

Torchwood Five

James, odd question time, seeing as you say Jenson Button was a Martin Whitmarsh signing, which was also my feeling for years, given that he was clearly the Golden Boy in 2012.

So, the question....are F1 Racing magazine talking out of their **** when they say Martin Whitmarsh signed Nick Heidfeld to replace Kovaleinen, and then while he went on holiday, Ron Dennis signed Button behind his back?


That was not my impression


Ron Dennis's comments dont make sense. They got rid of Perez because he couldnt beat Button. Now he seems to want Button to beat Magnussen by an even bigger margin? There are upsets through the field, yet Button continues to deliver what the car is capable of. Thats how he's always been.

If they do go Grosjean, it makes more sense to keep Jenson as the dependable points scorer.


'Harsh on Jenson Day' on James Allen on F1.

Over three seasons versus Hamilton, Button did nothing but improve his reputation as a driver. I think Rosberg is in the process of doing the same right now.

I am not quite sure who would be doing substantially better behind the wheel of the McLaren this year. Button though has proven his ability to use a descent car well. In addition to his WDC he also has 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the WDC to his credit.

Other than Button, McLaren's options to put a proven winner (re: World Champion) in the car for 2015 come down to Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, or the other potential World Champion by season's end...Rosberg. McLaren's challenges of the moment wouldn't look to attractive to any of them.

Raikkonen is the most plausible at this time, but he is the least attractive candidate on current form.

Hamilton or Rosberg - What driver leaves a World Championship winning team that looks well placed to lead the next couple of seasons?

Vettel - After winning 4 WDCs in a team that had no "pedigree", Vettel will unlikely be motivated by a nostalgia drive. He might be more interested in repairing his reputation against his teammate while waiting on an upgraded power unit.

Alonso - A lateral move at best. I simply don't see the upside in him leaving Ferrari...unless the Mercedes driver that doesn't win the title this year does something rash.

Outside of this group the only race winners left to choose from are Ricciardo, Massa and Maldonado. Not sure that Ricciardo or Massa look like moving on anytime soon, and Maldonado only seems to be moving backwards.

The WDC that McLaren already have in one seat looks a good fit for 2015 as well. If Magnussen starts to really finish consistently in front of Button then maybe another young driver doesn't look as risky...but not next year.


It doesn't matter if Jenson Button is overrated or what Ron Dennis wants. Right now the engineering talent isn't there, just as it isn't at Ferrari, and until McLaren hire the right design and development team nothing will change even if they had Hamilton and Alonso back.


totally agree


JB is certainly one the most likeable pilot in the F1 grid today, JB is a sober and serene. However he needs to concentrate more on his own performance rather than the car. Yes the Mclaren is poor this season so is Ferrari as well, with only RBR and Williams being somewhat closer to Mercedes

It's also a clear pain to watch a Mercedes/Williams battle rather than the primeval snippet which we used to see between Ferrari and Mclaren pre 2009. I hope Mclaren and Ferrari can raise the game atleast in 2015. My premonition says Mclaren will fight for the 2015 WDC. I doubt Ferrari though

It will be nice to see the Ferrari and Mclaren join the battle for WDC with Mercedes in 2015


button is not poor at all. he has accumulated millions over the years so need not worry about the future. how is the performance of drivers at mclaren in 2014 different from 2007?

button didn't do too badly in the 3 years he was paired with hamilton so why would dennis want hamilton back and not button? i think dennis is just trying to bully button into accepting a reduction in wages.

kenneth chapman

i simply can't see why anyone would want either button or raikonnen on their teams. this period of new F1 is a time for building as the PU's become more reliable and sophisticated. it is a time when new talent can be put into place to grow with the team/development. both button and raikonnen are on the way down and out in short order. yes, they had their days in the sun but the future is growing dimmer with each passing season.

i would be happy to see some more new blood in the circus. that is where the future lies. already the new chaps are making their presence felt in varying degrees but that is what keeps the series going. tired 'has beens' that can't actually cut the mustard any longer only further depress a series struggling with an identity crisis.


James, can you enlight us on the Honda-Movistar link?

I have read elsewhere that honda pressed Mclaren to sign Alonso which also provides the team a substantial back up with Movistar partnership

Is any there any truth or substance prevail behind this link?


Hmm - What about a straight swap of seats next year between BUT and ALO?


I think it is a bit rich publicly criticising drivers when the car is so poor. It's not as if they have been throwing away wins/podiums.

Sounds like he is just trying to shift the blame after stating that McLaren would definitely win a race this season. After all, M Whitmarsh can only be a scapegoat for so long.


I have just re-read Dennis' comments and the fact that he refers to Jenson as a "highly paid grand prix driver" when salary is irrelevant in this context suggests that this is all about getting him to reduce his wage demands if he stays.

kenneth chapman

surely this comment from RD can be taken two ways when analysing performances,

'you only ever get what you pay for, or, 'am i not getting what i pay for'? similar but different.


yep, you got it scott d. button should start talking up haas.

kenneth chapman

that is if the new american team actually makes it to the grid. it could well go 'haas up' as they say.


they will certainly make it to they grid. they are not pretenders but multiple championship winning team who make tooling machines for most of the f1 teams and engineering companies around the world. they know how to be successful. don't hold your breath.


Jenson is a highly paid racing driver but he gets half of what Alonso and Hammy get paid


Considering the comparison between Kimi and Romain last 2 years,I doubt that Romain is stronger than Jeson.

Now, everyone knows how fast Alonso is,but I still remember that Lewis beat him in his first year,so I think Jeson has done a excellent job.so far.


My prediction, Grosjean and Button for 2015, Hulk is too big and Kevin hasn't proven anything, Honda's view will matter and the Romain finished 3rd, best of the rest in Japan in 2013 and they love JB. Unless Macca can find another world champion to drive for them. Why will Alonso swap? Macca and Ferrari are in the same rebuild and restructure mode. Why will Vettel join Macca, it'd be a cultural nightmare for him?


Depends how you saw those 3 years.

To the blinkered he did well, the much touted accumulated more points often been thrown in.

To anyone who watched the seasons and know the points were a side story know he was not in the same league as Hamilton.

The last race as teammates Button was being dropped by Hamilton and the hulk till hulks misjudgment.

History will show he won the race though - 2012 button was truly trounced performance wise, it was not close..



This response is ment for aveli - post 49.


Anyone like to hazard a guess where HAM would be placed at this time had he stayed at MCL ???


"Anyone like to hazard a guess where HAM would be placed at this time had he stayed at MCL ???"

Probably somewhere between No. 10 and 20 on the US billboards with a new single (featuring some rap star)? 😀


Jenson might not be the best driver on the grid, but he's surely better as a driver than Ron Dennis as a team manager and McLaren as a Formula 1 team. He's close to the top, while McLaren is now a midfield team, and even their pathetic display in 2014 flatters them. McLaren actually moved BACKWARDS compared to 2013, which is no small feat. Without the undisputedly best power pack, they would be challanging Sauber, and this is hardly JB's fault.

As for Ron Dennis, if JB is past his sell-out date, what can we say about Ron? He had been a legend once, but for the past TWENTY YEARS the only time McLaren produced a car that was clearly superior to archrival Ferrari (not counting 2005 when Michelin trounced Bridgestone) was 1998 and even then they heavily relied on the Mercedes engine. Since then he got two WDCs through misfortunes of others, no WCC at all, and was fined 100M.

To boot, RD personally selected K-Mag to drive for Macca insted of Pérez and Jenson is beating him too, which doesn't sit well with Ron. He'd prefer to have K-Mag beating Jenson so he could let JB go, but he can hardly say that, can he?

To sum it up, Jenson is just better than Ron and McLaren, and Ron still isn't satisfied; he wants Alonso to negate more of his team's shortcomings than Jenson is able to. But why would Fernando be interested?...


Spot on, and kudos to JB for standing up to him, no one else in the team will. Maybe if they got rid of Whitmarsh things would look better... ??

Maybe Ron should be more worried about what he's going to say to Honda who went and put all their eggs in one basket.


Let's not be under any illusions - The only thing that matters to Ron Dennis is winning and he's been in the game long enough to know that winning means being the best in every regard. The chassis has to be the best, the engine has to be the best, pitstops have to be the fastest and the drivers have to be superstars. Unfortunately, and much as I like Jenson - he's not the best driver out there. He's very good and I rate him very highly but, he's not the best and that is what Ron demands. It's nothing personal and to be honest, it's the attitude that's needed to win championships. If losing Jenson is part of what's required to get McLaren back to their winning ways, then I'm all for it.

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