It’s probably been Formula One’s worst kept secret these past few weeks, but it’s official now: after Rubens Barrichello’s leave for Williams and Brawn GP’s sale to Mercedes-Benz, Jenson Button has left the team to join McLaren for the 2010 Formula One season.
The legend of Brawn GP, with its single season in Formula One which has resulted in both the drivers’ and the constructors’ title, is thus complete.
As for Button’s new job, consider that Lewis Hamilton has consumed two teammates over the course of but three seasons: Heikki Kovalainen over 2008–2009 and double world champion Fernando Alonso in 2007. Both left McLaren in a very unhappy state of mind.
Hamilton is McLaren’s home-grown talent, nurtured since age 13, and while he is undoubtedly scary fast in a well-sorted car, he is also a vain man known for public temper tantrums whenever things go even slightly wrong. Like in the first half of the 2009 season, when McLaren had the misfortune to produce a dog of a racing car.
So while the BBC is calling the Button–Hamilton lineup a “dream team at McLaren,” with both of them British and both of them world champions, expect rifts. McLaren already has a “one driver” and his name is Lewis Hamilton.
Photo Credit: FRED DUFOUR/Getty Images, Mark Thompson/Getty Images