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It's official: McLaren confirms Button to partner Alonso in F1 challenge with Honda

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It's official: McLaren confirms Button to partner Alonso in F1 challenge with Honda
Dec 11, 2014, 11:36 AM

McLaren this morning confirmed that 2009 world champion Jenson Button will line up alongside two times champion Fernando Alonso in the McLaren Hond...

McLaren this morning confirmed that 2009 world champion Jenson Button will line up alongside two times champion Fernando Alonso in the McLaren Honda next season. Kevin Magnussen will be the reserve driver.

The spirit of McLaren and returning engine partner Honda's heyday was evoked as Alonso highlighted Ayrton Senna and his exploits in a McLaren Honda as his inspiration, while Button spoke off admiring Alain Prost "stroking" the car to success.

Between them Alonso and Button have started 500 Grands Prix, so will be by far the most experienced driver line up in F1. It is also a strong statement as far as Honda is concerned, on its return to F1; precisely the kind of statement it wanted to make, in fact.

The announcement of Button was the end of feverish speculation since McLaren made a sudden media call to attend the driver announcement less than 24 hours ago. It has overshadowed arguably the bigger story which is the return of Alonso after one of the bitterest fallings out in F1 history. Alonso was Honda's first choice and they were prepared to go to any lengths to get their man.

McLaren

Although he described Alonso and Button as "by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team", for McLaren boss Ron Dennis personally this is a difficult day; he did not get his first choice of driver, Kevin Magnussen and he also has the return of Alonso to cope with. It leaves him in a difficult position with the team and shareholders. Although it shows that reconciliation is apparently possible even in the most challenging of circumstances, it will be extremely difficult for both men as long as they are both around.

Alonso and Dennis had personality differences more or less from the start of the 2007 season and things deteriorated as the year went on; Alonso left under a cloud as McLaren was fined $100 million for accepting a dossier of Ferrari's intellectual property.

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