Button to McLaren, Says The Guardian; Where Goes Raikkonen?


What Happens When Late News is Still News

5:33pm EST — According to The Guardian Monday, Jenson Button is about to sign a three-year, £6 million per year contract with McLaren in the next few days.  Much speculation had been floating around as to which driver will partner Lewis Hamilton at McLaren after the other announcement Monday that engine supplier Mercedes has returned to the Formula1 grid as a full factory team by buying out Button’s 2009 championship winning team BrawnGP and McLaren will buy out Mercedes’ nearly half interest in their Woking team by the end of 2011.  Previously, it had been accepted fact that Kimi Raikkonen, whose 2010 contract was bought out by Ferrari to replace him with Fernando Alonso, would drive for McLaren in 2010.  Then a few days after Raikkonen’s management was seen at the McLaren factory, Button arrived in Woking.  With this new deal, it looks as though Raikkonen will be left out as Button moves to McLaren, and Nick Heidfeld is generally speculated to go to the new MercedesGP with Nico Rosberg.  The story, however, only says that Button is about to sign, not that he has signed, and, as such, should not be viewed as the final and absolute truth, though it is extremely likely.

Of course, not much has been made by the statements made earlier Monday by Mercedes motorsports chief Norbert Haug that “this will be an international team for Mercedes-Benz is a global player.”  This sentence occurred in an interview by Autosport, where the Mercedes executives seemed a bit defensive over the media speculation that Rosberg and Heidfeld were shoe-ins for the former Brawn team.  It is only idle speculation, but one of the concerns that Raikkonen has repeatedly voiced over his 2010 contract is that he wants to be in a competitive car, as well as paid what he is worth.  A Mercedes-owned Brawn would certainly have a larger budget than the 2009 Brawn team, and it has shown great competitiveness in winning both the driver’s and constructor’s championships in 2009.  Might Raikkonen end up at the new MercedesGP in 2010?  It is also quite possible that the Finn will continue his love for rallying and might not sign a 2010 F1 contract.  Only time will tell and more information will be published when available.

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