And finally the McLaren got what they wanted for a great 2015 Formula One season. After their partnership with Honda to provide engines for the next season, McLaren finally confirmed its driver line-up too. And so did the most awaited announcement came. McLaren has announced Fernando Alonso as one of their drivers, while they have retained Jenson Button, to join the Spaniard for the upcoming F1 season.
McLaren won four consecutive championships with a Honda engine, from 1988 to 1991, before Honda pulled off from the championship. Honda again is returning to the F1 arena, hoping to repeat the success with McLaren. Also, the Surrey-based outfit decided to replace Dane Magnussen with Alonso, though, Magnussen will remain with McLaren as the test and reserve driver.
"Fernando and Jenson have started a combined total of precisely 500 grands prix between them - a mighty aggregate - and have won 47 of them," said McLaren chairman Ron Dennis. "I can safely say, therefore, that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team."
Fernando Alonso was earlier replaced by Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari outfit. "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," said Alonso. He joined Ferrari after leaving McLaren in 2007, and now is returning to the British team.
On the other hand, Jenson Button's seat was a last minute decision by the management. While Magnussen was pitched for the seat alongside the Spaniard, the 2014 performance of Button, convinced the McLaren bosses to retain him. "I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit," said Button. "In fact, I am absolutely raring to go."
Button's career record is impeccable, which also helped him retain his seat. The Briton started his career in 2000, and won the world championship in 2009. Button out-qualified Magnussen 10 times in 19 races last season, but said "he is a very quick driver and a really nice guy." McLaren said Magnussen would remain an "important part of the team."