McLaren Mercedes has been reported to have signed their lead driver Jenson Button to a three-season contract, which will bring him near the end of his career and put McLaren in a position to develop their car before turning over the reins to a younger driver, possibly Button’s current teammate Sergio Perez.
Button has been pivotal in McLaren’s growth, and it will be interesting to see if Button can get a car even close to what he received with Brawn GP in 2009, when he dominated en route to a driver’s championship.
What helps McLaren is the fact that in Jenson Button may be the best driver with developing a new car, and his smooth driving style is the envy of many teams. That very driving style may be more beneficial due to Formula One’s new engine regulations and emphasis on downforce.
It’s important to also realize how good Button has been this year despite having a lackluster car. Despite being ninth in the standings, he is outperforming his teammate by 29 points (over an entire race distance) and had a car that could have competed for a podium finish last week at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Button’s outdoing his teammate by an average of two positions per race while having finished on the lead lap two more times than his Mexican counterpart.
Going forward, McLaren has to be overjoyed by Button’s immediate acceptance of a new contract. Rivals Red Bull Racing are going through a driver change in the absence of Mark Webber, and Scuderia Ferrari may be doing the same. With that occurring, McLaren may be on the fast track back to the podiums before long.
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