McLaren confirms Button, Alonso


Jenson Button's F1 career will extend into a 16th season after McLaren confirmed he will stay at the team next year alongside new signing Fernando Alonso, as the pair were unveiled on Thursday. McLaren has stalled on announcing its line-up for months, with a McLaren board meeting last week failing to yield a conclusion between Button and rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen for the seat alongside Alonso. In taking 2009 world champion Button McLaren has opted for experience over youth and completed the final piece of the puzzle for the 2015 grid. Magnussen will remain at the team in a test and reserve driver role. McLaren enters the Honda era with just two podium finishes in the last two seasons – when Magnussen finished second ahead of Button at the 2014 opener in Melbourne. Its Honda power unit was limited to just five laps in the Abu Dhabi test and it is still unclear how competitive the team will be, though challenging Mercedes straight away seems unlikely. Alonso says he arrives to emulate his idol Ayrton Senna, who won three world championships for McLaren Honda between 1988 and 1992. "I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference," Alonso said. "I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula One, McLaren Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship." Alonso does not expect to win immediately but is relishing the challenge ahead. "I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me," Alonso said. "Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest. But, more than a year ago, McLaren Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula 1 scene for so long. "McLaren-Honda's repeated and open desire, perseverance and determination in making it possible for me to join their exciting renewed partnership, have been some of the main factors that made me take this decision, not forgetting the most important factor of all: we share a common objective and expectations, and there is a very solid future, with confidence, ahead." Button is confident Honda can help McLaren back to the pinnacle of the sport. "I am extremely excited to be embarking on my 16th year in Formula One and my sixth season for McLaren," Button said. "Like Fernando, I am certain that McLaren and Honda will achieve great things together, and I feel sure that, working together, all of us will pull incredibly hard to create a brilliantly effective winning team. "Being a part of new-look McLaren Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go. I am also very glad that Kevin will remain part of the team. He is a very quick driver and a really nice guy."