Ron Dennis insists McLaren-Honda has the strongest driver line-up in Formula 1 after confirming that Jenson Button will partner Fernando Alonso at the team in 2015.
After a series of delays, McLaren officially confirmed Alonso and Button on Thursday morning at a media event at the squad’s Woking base.
While Dennis confirmed that Alonso’s deal had been finalised a ‘little while ago’, he admitted talks to re-sign Button had taken ‘quite a long time’.
“McLaren’s policy has always been to assemble the strongest line-up possible, and in Fernando and Jenson I firmly believe that is exactly what we have,” Dennis said.
“We signed Fernando a little while ago, but we decided not to announce the fact until we had also re-signed Jenson as his team-mate.
“For many reasons our negotiations with Jenson took quite a long time, but, now that they have been concluded, we are confident that our collaboration with him will continue to thrive in the future every bit as well as it has in the past.
“Make no mistake about it, Jenson is 100% committed to McLaren-Honda, to Formula 1, and to winning.
“As a pair, he and Fernando are supremely experienced. Fernando has started 234 grands prix, has converted 32 of those starts to victories, has stood on a grand prix podium 97 times, and has won the drivers’ world championship not once but twice. He is a class act.
“He is 33 – which, for an athlete as physically fit as he is, constitutes a Formula 1 driver’s professional prime of life.
“Moreover, he is old enough to be experienced and expert, yet young enough to be enthusiastic and energetic. I therefore firmly believe he will deploy those four e’s – experience, expertise, enthusiasm and energy – to drive forward McLaren-Honda’s on-track success next season and for quite a few seasons to come.
“As for Jenson, at 34, he is every bit as fit as Fernando but even more experienced: he has started 266 grands prix, has won 15 of them, and has stood on a grand prix podium 50 times. He, too, is an ex-world champion, and is one of the smoothest and fastest guys out there.
“To sum up, Fernando and Jenson have started a combined total of precisely 500 grands prix between them – a mighty aggregate – and have won 47 of them.
“I can safely say, therefore, that we now have by an order of magnitude the best driver line-up of any current Formula 1 team.”
Kevin Magnussen, who partnered Button at the team in 2014, has been relegated to the role of a test and reserve driver, but Dennis insists the Dane has an exciting future at McLaren.
“I want to thank and pay tribute to Kevin, who has done a great job this season and will continue to be an integral part of our team,” he said. “He will be our test, reserve and third driver, and remains an excellent prospect for the future.”
Images courtesy of McLaren