Button, for his part, insisted that he had been unaware of his new team-mate championing his cause, and has repeatedly stressed that he only initiated discussions with his new employers once it was clear that there would be no resolution to the prolonged impasse
in contract negotiations with Brawn. He did, though, he confessed, speak tentatively with Hamilton himself towards the end of the 2009 campaign – and five days after first visiting McLaren's Surrey headquarters, he was officially announced at the team for 2010.
“We (he and Hamilton) spoke a little bit in Brazil and Abu Dhabi,” the 30-year-old confirmed, “but not about me coming here. I just asked him questions about McLaren, but he didn't know why I was asking the questions. I was just interested then – just being nosy really. You are always going to ask people what experiences are like in other teams.
“I didn't think for one second before Brazil that I would be changing teams. I didn't think the option was there, not before I won the title, and just never thought about it – but obviously your mindset changes when you win something you have worked so hard for. Then you look for other challenges.”
Whilst the duo were all smiles at the Newbury launch of the new MP4-25 last week, however, it has been speculated that tension is already brewing behind-the-scenes. Hamilton was noticeably and unusually abrupt in some of his answers to questions, ostensibly uncomfortable with the British media spotlight – for the first time in his F1 history with McLaren – being focussed on somebody else, the driver who now has the coveted number one on his car rather than on his own, and the country's new 'golden boy'.
There is also a school of thought that another motive behind Button's recruitment was to try to limit the burgeoning influence of Hamilton's father and manager Anthony inside the team, and it was noted that whilst Button Snr was present and highly visible at the launch, Hamilton Snr was nowhere to be seen, absent for the first time as he unveiled his new GP Prep Drivers Academy initiative. An interesting season ahead certainly looks in-store.