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Recap & Analysis

  • Jenson's Decision - Right or Wrong?

    Jenson Button’s decision to ditch his old team Brawn GP (or now Mercedes GP) in favour of a move to McLaren next season and partner Lewis Hamilton has created, let’s say ‘a mixed reaction’ amongst fans. Some feel that he has made the right decision and jumped ship to the better team, giving him the best chance of retaining his title. Whilst others think the move is ‘stupid’ and possibly the worst of the Brits career.

    Well we here at F1-fans had a bit of an argument about it as well, so we decided to put our feelings down on paper and see what everyone else thinks. Jon feels that Jenson’s move to McLaren is the right decision whilst Richard thinks that it is the wrong decision. So here goes….


    The Jenson Button saga looks to be header for a boat load of he said, she said, and we’ll never really know the ins and outs of it but we know the outcome; Jenson Button is now a McLaren driver.

    I think it’s a good decision on his part. Now I know Brawn are saying they put a good contract on the table and he is walking into a possible slaughtering from Lewis Hamilton but I think overall he has given himself the best chance to win.

    Now that Brawn have Mercedes support they have the backer in place to keep up their front running ways but Mercedes have only just come on board to start pumping the requisite millions in, Brawn finished the season meekly despite triumphing in both championships. At the end of the year the McLaren was the better car.

    I think it will be the better car next season as well. Do I know this for certain? No. Could Brawn catch lightning in a bottle again? Sure. The regulations are the same though, there’s not going to be a “double diffuser” controversy and KERS is gone, the playing field is relatively level.

    Then there’s the contract angle, Brawn are saying they put down a £12 million offer but only £8 million of that was guaranteed. You’re putting the world champion on a points mean prizes contract? Really? If I was Jenson I’d be insulted. He took a huge pay cut to drive for Brawn last year and expected his rewards this offseason, Brawn should have had that contract sewn-up months ago.

    They didn’t but if that had been the offer from the get go I believe this wouldn’t be a debate right now and Button-Rosberg would be the line-up for Mercedes for 2010. I believe Brawn started with a lowball offer to Jenson and that was the beginning of the end, why insult the world champion like that?

    So what of him walking into the proverbial Lion’s Den of the Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes F1 team? A match that certainly would not have happened four or five seasons ago with Buttons playboy lifestyle being, at the time, the antithesis of McLaren’s corporate image. I’m sure they definitely don’t want another Kimi falling down his boat appearing on YouTube.

    The team is admittedly geared around Hamilton but does anyone really believe he won’t get a fair shake after Prost-Senna and Hamilton-Alonso? Ron will provide the same equipment for both of them and let them have it out.

    Button’s ultra smooth driving style should work well with the McLaren, I don’t know if he’s going to outdrive Lewis very often but he’s consistent and will keep bringing home the points. I think it will be close across the length of a season and that McLaren gives Jenson the best chance at a second world championship.

    Certainly I could end up with egg all over my face here but I’m calling at as I see it. Jenson Button made the right decision; roll on 2010.


    Brawn was built almost entirely around Jenson, having been with them for six years – yes six years, that’s decades in F1 terms - from the BAR days, through the enigma that was Honda, to the fairytale of Brawn. He’s been through the lowest of the lows – the dog of a season they had in 2008, and equally 2007- and the highest of the highs – this championship winning year, especially winning the first six races - with this group of mechanics, engineers at Brackley.

    But it seems that sentiment (or loyalty) isn’t Jenson’s strong suit, or he would have put pen to paper many months ago. Honda put the team through the wrack at the end of last year, but with their futures in doubt the team worked relentlessly through Christmas and the pre-season ensuring that they would be ready if given the green light.

    I say that, but at the same time as that was going on Jenson did look to be committed to the team, he took a substantial pay cut, and even covered many of his expenses himself, which to be honest only compounds my dismay at his decision.

    So on to McLaren - completely disregarding the divorce from Mercedes for a minute - they’re arguably the best team on the grid, a force to be reckoned with, and have run all other constructors to the wire for the last 10 years. So on the face of it, Button’s move should be the perfect fit, a just reward for the 2009 World Champion. Well apart from two little words. Lewis. Hamilton.

    Lewis has his feet firmly under the desk at Woking - something that in 2007 despite being a rookie and up against two-time world champion Fernando Alonso didn’t stop the Brit from seeing off and cutting short the Spaniard’s McLaren tenure.

    It is ironic really that Button will take with him his #1, and as such Hamilton will drive the car numbered 2, however the pecking order in reality will be the complete opposite.

    The problem is Hamilton’s driving style is poles apart from Button’s. You’re probably sick to the back teeth of hearing about Button’s silky smooth style, and to be honest to the naked eye it doesn’t dramatically stand out from the rest of the field, sans one driver – yep Hamilton. Lewis’ driving style is, huge speed into the corners, gather up some slidey stuff, then off again into the next. It’s certainly effective, but you can’t call it smooth or silky.

    The 2010 McLaren without doubt will be designed to complement Hamilton’s style, and that alone will be an uphill struggle for Button. Just think back to some of the comments Jenson was making on the radio during the middle of this season while struggling with the BGP001, I can’t imagine the MP4-25 to be much easier.

    Jenson to Brawn, was like me to my favourite shoes. They’re moulded to fit perfectly, I know they’re rubbish in ice and snow (strengths/weaknesses), but they’re the comfiest things –ever- and give the favourite shoe relaxed feeling. Meanwhile Jenson’s new pair of McLarens might sound good, look good, and have all the latest technology, but you just know they’re going to give him blisters.

    Jenson Button definitely made the wrong decision; roll on 2010.

    What do you think?

    Ok so there you have it, I’ll leave it up to you. What do you think of Jenson’s decision is it right or is it wrong? Have your say in the comments below...

Tagged with...
  • Jenson Button
  • McLaren
  • Brawn
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • 2010 Season
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  • teamworkf1's avatar
    8:00pm Thu, 19th November 2009

    do you expect me to read all that??


  • Derek's avatar
    8:21pm Thu, 19th November 2009

    Richard is right. Jenson's decision to move to McLaren was wrong... but I like it. Let me explain.

    Two people are what make Button's decision the wrong one. Lewis Hamilton and Ross Brawn.

    Hamilton is loved by McLaren, so, even though Button carries the championship title with him, McLaren will be building things and favoring Lewis. Add in the annoyance of Hamilton's dad and Button not being the favorite (as he was at Brawn) and this will make for some interesting team chemistry.

    Can somebody explain why anyone would leave Ross Brawn? The man is a F1 genius. Why Button would leave a team that loves him lead by one of the sports greatest mastermind of all time is beyond me.

    I like Button's decision for selfish reasons. I don't like him and I don't like Hamilton. His move to McLaren allows me to simply ignore the British love-fest that will be taking place in their pits next year. Button is an undeserving champion. Anyone could have won all those races early in the season when he clearly had the better car. His passive driving and struggle for 8th place finishes during the second half was laughable for a champion. I hope you enjoy your poor decision Jenson because I will be.

  • Rob Jackson's avatar
    Rob Jackson
    2:09pm Fri, 20th November 2009

    Well a year ago when Honda pulled out many people wanted Button alongside Hamilton in McLaren. A year on the only thing that's changed is that Button will be sporting the number one on his car in 2010.

    Who know's if it is a good move? We'll be much better placed to assess that in a years time. For now, I'll be 100% behind an all British driver line up at McLaren for a season that promises to be one of the greats.