McLaren name Alonso and Button as 2015 drivers

Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:16am EST
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso and Britain's Jenson Button will drive for Honda-powered McLaren next season, the Formula One team said on Thursday.

Alonso's return to Woking, seven years after he left following an acrimonious season as 2007 team mate to then-rookie Lewis Hamilton, had been an open secret for months in the paddock.

His partner next year had been far less clear-cut, with the former champions having to decide between one of their 2014 pairing of Button and Dane Kevin Magnussen, who will stay with the team as a reserve and test driver.

The decision to go with Button, who made his race debut in 2000 and was the most experienced driver on the starting grid this year, will see the Briton start his 16th season at the age of 35.

The former Honda driver remains McLaren's most recent race winner, having triumphed for the under-performing former champions in Brazil at the end of 2012.

McLaren have not won a race for two years and are going through a major overhaul, with changes at technical and managerial level.

They have also teamed up again with Honda in a repeat of their hugely successful partnership in the late 1980s and 1990s when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost dominated Formula One.

Alonso, who won his title with Renault, has spent the last five seasons at Ferrari but his patience ran out after the Italian glamor team again failed to take the fight to dominant Mercedes this year.   Continued...

 
McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button of Britain drives during the third free practise session of Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi November 22, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed