As expected early on Thursday, McLaren announced that Jenson Button has kept his race seat at McLaren for 2015.
For months, it has been assumed Danish rookie and in-house protege Kevin Magnussen would be Fernando Alonso’s Honda-powered teammate, but the 22-year-old has instead been assigned the role of reserve driver next year.
“All three men will play crucial roles in re-establishing the ascendancy of one of global sport’s most iconic unions,” the British team said.
Thursday ended the long and controversial wait for the identity of the second McLaren driver for 2015, but also finally confirmed the much-anticipated return to Woking of Spaniard Alonso.
“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,” he said.
34-year-old Button, meanwhile – whose Abu Dhabi grand prix recently was widely interpreted as his 268th and final F1 race – spared a thought for the deposed Magnussen.
“I am very glad that Kevin will remain part of the team,” he said. “He is a very quick driver and a really nice guy.”
Curiously, McLaren supremo Ron Dennis suggested that contrary to suggestions the team simply couldn’t decide between Button and Magnussen, the delay was actually because “negotiations with Jenson took quite a long time”.
“Now that they have been concluded, we are confident that our collaboration with him will continue to thrive in the future every bit as well as it has in the past,” he said.
© RIF | GMM