McLaren has confirmed that reigning F1 world champion, Jenson Button, will be driving for them next year. Button replaces Heikki Kovalainen at the Woking-based squad and will partner Lewis Hamilton, who won the title for McLaren in 2008.
While it was expected that Button would remain with the Brawn GP team, the bone of contention that led the two parties to part ways was that of Button's salary. While Jense had agreed to a paycut for 2009, because the fledgling Brawn GP team was running on a tight budget, Button expected better pay after winning the drivers' title and helping the team to be winning constructor. Especially now that the Brawn GP team has been bought out by Mercedes and the team looks more financially sound, it did look like Button could expect more money. But the team did not give way.
Button stated that being a part of one of F1's great teams for whom the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton had driven, was a privelege. He did admit that leaving the Brawn GP team was a difficult decision, but he was ready to set himself fresh challenges.
Well good luck to Jense, cause partnering Lewis Hamilton sure will be a fresh challenge. And given the fact that John Button and Anthony Hamilton will be in the same part of the paddock a lot of the time, good luck to Martin Whitmarsh as well!