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F1 experts react cautiously to new McLaren line-up

Leading figures from Sir Jackie Stewart and David Coulthard to Murray Walker and Martin Brundle have revealed their concerns at F1 2009 World Champion Jenson Button's move from Brawn GP to McLaren-Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2010
F1 experts have almost unanimously expressed their concern for recently-crowned world champion Jenson Button after it was revealed that he will be teaming up at McLaren-Mercedes alongside compatriot and title-winning predecessor Lewis Hamilton next season.

As had been predicted earlier this week, Button has tied up a multi-year deal to jump ship from Brawn GP – now Mercedes Grand Prix – to multiple world champions McLaren as he seeks 'fresh challenges' in his career at the highest level [see separate story – click here].

However, despite the 29-year-old's palpable enthusiasm for the task that lies ahead, others are questioning the wisdom of his decision, given that he will be entering what some consider to be the lion's den in that McLaren has come to be regarded as a team built very much around its star protégé Hamilton, who effectively joined the Surrey-based outfit as part of its young driver programme at the tender age of just ten.

Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso left after just a single unhappy season at Woking in 2007, whilst Heikki Kovalainen has failed to remotely get to grips with the Stevenage-born ace over the past two years. Some highly-respected paddock figures fear Button could be set for a similar fate, equal billing or no.

“In the past they (McLaren) have had a history of really being able to only fully support one driver,” popular commentator Martin Brundle told BBC Radio, reflecting on his own experience at the squad alongside Mika Hakkinen back in 1994.

What's more, both David Coulthard and three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart had advised Button to remain at Brawn rather than chase the money at McLaren. Much-loved veteran commentator Murray Walker similarly told Reuters he is 'not sure that Button could keep up with' Hamilton – and fellow Brit Johnny Herbert said in an interview with The Sun that the new driver pairing is 'like the adopted son going up against the prodigal son'.

However, Button did at least receive some words of encouragement from 2010 Ferrari rival Felipe Massa – a man who will likely face a challenge-and-a-half of his own with Alonso's arrival at Maranello – as the Brazilian told globo.com that the all-British line-up 'will be an excellent pairing'.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-24, Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP001, British F1, Silverstone, 19th-21st, June, 2009
22.06.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
22.06.2017 - Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
22.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
22.06.2017 - Mercedes AMG F1 W08 detail
22.06.2017 - Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
22.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
22.06.2017 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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November 18, 2009 4:56 PM

Take over McL AGAIN.. what are you on? Lewis will be in his fourth year with Mcl. He has a 2,1,5 finish in championships he has contested. That is an average finish of 2.66. I would say he is either the number one driver in F1 or number two. Thats in F1 not just McL.

trigger - Unregistered

November 18, 2009 4:35 PM

As a fan of Jenson, i understand that this move will either shut up all doubts about his performances or it can show up his abilities. Im just concerned about his mental strength which is not always with him... after a few unlucky drives he can fall down. But if ferrari did the job with massa and raikkonen, why not mclaren with JB and LH? good luck JB :)

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