Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has finally announced the signing of the reigning F1 World champion Jenson Button.
Button has inked a 'multi-year deal' that will see him partner 2008 F1 World champion and fellow countryman, Lewis Hamilton.
Button, who had been in talks to stay with Ross Brawn's Brackley-based squad, noted that while it wasn't easy to jump ship, he felt the opportunity to join one of the sports most successful teams was just too good to pass up.
“It's always a difficult decision to leave a team when you've been there for so long. But life is all about challenges – and, most important of all, it's about challenging yourself. So, although I won the World Championship with Brawn GP last year, and I'll never forget that, I was always adamant that I wanted to continue to set myself fresh challenges,” Button explained.
“So that's why I've decided to join Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. You can't help but be affected by this team's phenomenal history. McLaren is one of the greats of world sport, and its achievements and list of past champions read like a Who's Who of F1 – Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and of course my new team-mate Lewis Hamilton. I've followed the McLaren team ever since I was a small boy, and it feels unbelievable to finally be a part of it.
“When I visited the McLaren Technology Centre earlier this month, it wasn't simply the technical resources and the incredible standards of excellence that impressed me. No, I was equally struck by the ambition, the motivation and the winning spirit that flow through everybody there. And then there's the team's epic history: put it this way, the trophy cabinets seem to stretch for miles.”
Button is also looking forward to working with Hamilton, the first time two British F1 World champions have been paired together since Graham Hill and Jim Clark at Lotus back in 1968.
“From a personal point of view, it is a great pleasure to be joining a fellow British World champion. Lewis has achieved an incredible level of success in a very short period of time, and he's a wonderfully gifted driver who has earned the respect of every F1 driver. I'm sure there's plenty that we can learn from each other, and I'm really looking forward to using our combined knowledge to push the team forward,” Jenson continued.
“Also, I think it's fantastic that we'll be forming an all-British line-up. I know that we both fly the flag with pride, and I sincerely hope we can make the whole of the United Kingdom, as well as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes fans across the world, proud.
“Nothing means more to me than to be able to represent my country, and I'm looking forward to both of us painting F1's circuits red, white and blue for many years to come.
“[Furthermore] while I'm fully aware that there's a tremendous amount of hard work ahead, I'm absolutely certain that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be able to deliver where it matters: on track. I'm already looking forward to starting work with the engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre as we begin our preparations for the 2010 season – and the defence of my world championship. This is a team that always goes racing to win, and I'm looking forward to being part of that.
“Last but very far from least, I want to say that the 2009 season will always have a special place in my memory, and I'm absolutely sure that everybody at Brawn GP who worked so hard to achieve our World Championship successes feels exactly the same way about it. Equally, I want to thank the guys at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, without whom we'd never have been as competitive as we were. I'm so pleased that I'll still be using their engines in 2010 and beyond.
“So I wish all my old Brawn GP mates well in their new Mercedes Grand Prix adventure, just as I hope they'll wish me well in my new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes adventure.”