It seems crazy to see a team with as much experience and history as McLaren not decide on their driver line up for next season still. From a purely commercial point of view if they know which drivers they will be running they can begin to use their sponsors and approach newly interested parties to maybe, just maybe get that title sponsor they are missing. It is also crazy to think that two proven world champions and one bright, young talent, still aren’t signed up to any race team for the 2015 season, whether that be in Formula One or another series, although it is pretty much 99% a done deal between McLaren and Alonso. That just leaves the two current McLaren drivers, JB and K-Mag. Both of them have strong cases as to why they should be retained by the British racing outfit. The vast majority of the British media and race fans want Jenson to be in the silver livery design car for 2015, and why would McLaren not pick him? He is a proven race winner, former world champion and he is great with helping the team go in a given direction with the car and development. Since Russia he has scored 44 points to Alonso’s 28 and Magnussen’s 16. Case closed in our opinion-he still has massive speed when the car is working for him, barely ever crashes and stays out of other drivers incidents on the track. Kevin on the other hand has impressed early on this year but he has faltered slightly in the second half of the season. He is undeniably quick though, he has proven that in racing series he has been in during his junior career and looks to only get quicker and more level headed as his career progresses. He is only 22 years old, so if we are directly comparing him with Jenson he has over 10 years to get to Jenson’s level. So from that point of view would it be a bad thing to reign in young Kevin for a season again so he can study Jenson and Fernando’s race craft to hone his skills for a second crack at it in a year or two?
If the rumours for the future have any truth in them then this is how we would see it play out.
Alonso and Button race for McLaren in 2015 to give Honda a strong driver line up for their first year back, utilising the link and association they have with Button already too.
For 2016, if contract talks break down between Hamilton and Mercedes the door may be open for Alonso to complete his favoured move to the German outfit.
Button possibly retires if McLaren prove to be uncompetitive in 2015 allowing Magnussen to step up again to partner Alonso.
Alonso and Hamilton switch teams for 2016, seeing the bond Lewis and Ron Dennis have had in the past it is possible he would rejoin his former team.
The third and final possibility would be that Alonso either retires from Formula One if McLaren aren’t competitive or ends up being booted out by the team themselves to make room for Magnussen to be partnered by their other young driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Now that may seem like a bit of a jumbled list but in all outcomes it would see Magnussen eventually back in a car, Button partnering up with Honda again for the year and Honda also get their wish and have Alonso in one of the cars. That would also be great publicity for McLaren themselves, great talent waiting in the wings in Magnussen and Vandoorne, Button is there to help build on the partnership with Honda, and the claimed best driver on the grid is also in one of the cars to hustle the team towards race victories again. From a sponsorship point of view it would be great for McLaren as well, Button has a way with people and companies, to get them to listen and engage even if they aren’t that interested in the sport themselves. He happily attends sponsor events and is a friendly face to have next to any advertising and promotion. Honda are also happy because they have two big names of the sport in a car that hopes to hark back to the years of domination in the sport, which if it does prove competitive could pique the interest of other sponsors and lead to talks over a title sponsor with more cash flowing into the team.
In our opinion then, Button should be kept on for at least one more year to help with the move to Honda engines, he is very popular in Japan and if you couple that with the superstar status Alonso carries with him McLaren would be talked about worldwide and it would turn potential sponsors and fans attention back to a team that (hopefully) are back on the rise to winning ways once more. McLaren get to keep Magnussen as well so once the seat becomes available they can look to his sponsors for more funding if he is elevated back to a full time drive rather than test driver, and in the year he is not in a seat Dennis and everyone else at McLaren can look at the other big Danish power players and companies such as Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen who owns Lego, Danske Bank and Carlsberg. Hopefully soon we will know what McLaren’s final decision has been but in the interests of future sponsorship, keeping face with their young talent and new challenges with Honda, we believe McLaren would be wise to look at what, and who, is proving popular among fans and keep Button on alongside whoever for 2015.