As hunches go, the BBC’s Andrew Benson says they have it on good authority that McLaren will announce Jenson Button as Fernando Alonso’s teammate for the 2015 season—or should that be Alonso as Button’s teammate?
The row came down to the methodical big data mining of the two drivers—Jenson and teammate Kevin Magnussen. It seems that, according to Benson, McLaren boss Ron Dennis wanted to keep Magnussen—perhaps no surprise there as I’m not sure he’s been the biggest Button supporter over the years—as the young man was a product of their driver development program and the future as he’s much younger.
There is an interesting comment that Benson makes about Kevin saying: “but the Dane’s continuing delays over making a decision have tipped the balance back in favour of Button”.
I am unclear on what that might have been because I would have assumed that Kevin was hell-bent for staying at McLaren. Perhaps there was some contractual issues or whatnot? Benson doesn’t expand on that issue in his article but I am not sure why Kevin would be dragging feet on anything when it comes to a seat in F1.
As we’ve mentioned before, there could also be a lingering struggle at the head of the ship between Dennis and other owners over the decision and Benson does mention that in his article. Regardless, what should have been a real hail mary of a story about Honda returning and Alonso returning has turned into an odd, dithering (as James Allen would call it) procession of indecision and fan confusion.
Best to measure twice and cut once I suppose and the assumption is that Magnussen may stay as the reserve driver. Unless K-Mags has other options, I think that would be the wise move.
Alonso, on the other hand, is rumored to be making $40 million per year on a 2-year deal with an option of a third. This, according to Benson, would make him the highest paid driver on the grid. That had to play a key factor in the decision to keep Button—from Ron’s standpoint anyway—as Kevin has to be less expensive than the 2009 world champ.
The press conference is slated for Thursday morning so in a matter of just a few short hours, we’ll know if Alonso gets to team with Button or Magnussen and we’ll get to test Mr. Benson’s source.
Hat Tip: BBC