Lots of big news in the world of Formula One today. It has been announced the Jenson Button has signed with McLaren and will be paired up alongside Lewis Hamilton. He has said that it wasn’t about the money and that he is just out to continue moving forward with his career. However, everyone knows that Brawn did not want to pay him as much as he was asking and that McLaren was willing to pay more. Besides the pay increase, he now has a chance to be teamed with another Brit on a British team and he says that was a big reason to make the switch as well. As motivation, there is nothing better than driving for your country, and with McLaren, both Button and Hamilton will be flying the Union Jack, but I still don’t see any way this will work out in the long. This does mean that McLaren will retain the number 1 on the front of the car, and it is also the first time in F1 history that a team has the services of two drivers who were World Champions back to back. There is some speculation that Button had been forced out of Brawn by new owner Mercedes, but it remains to be seen whether that is the case or not. Ross Brawn and Nick Fry have expressed their disappointment at having Jenson leave the team and now have to go with a clean slate of drivers as Rubens Barrichello signed with Williams right after the season ended. The seats at Brawn will be highly coveted though, and the team should have the pace to stay with the front runners, if not be the front runners come the start of the season. More will be revealed as winter testing finally shows up and the true pace of the new cars can really be judged.
The news also means that Kimi Raikkonen is looking for a new place to drive. It has come out as rumor that he has three possibilities. Either he sits out the season, signs with the former Brawn team at reduced income or goes to the WRC with Citroen. There are rumors flying all over the paddock, from people close to him, that he will be in the WRC and contest Le Mans, while others are saying that he will try and shore up a deal with Mercedes F1 so that he can continue racing. Personally, I think Kimi is going to leave F1 behind this season and concentrate on his WRC training. He could possibly make a return in 2011 if all goes well, but his attention is not on F1 right now.