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Why Button snubbed Mercedes for McLaren in 2010

Why Button snubbed Mercedes for McLaren in 2010

F1 News

Why Button snubbed Mercedes for McLaren in 2010

Why Button snubbed Mercedes for McLaren in 2010

Jenson Button has explained how the Mercedes works team's troubling approach to funding its return to Formula 1 prompted him to reject them in favour of McLaren.

The return of Mercedes to the F1 grid was secured when the manufacturer purchased Brawn GP, having supplied engines for its title-winning campaign, which saw Button crowned world champion.

Button opted to leave for McLaren, however, teaming with Lewis Hamilton, who has gone on to run rule over F1 after switching to Mercedes in 2013, perhaps offering fans of F1, and especially Button, a serious case of 'what might have been'.

"They 100 per cent wanted me to stay and I knew that Mercedes were buying the team," Button told F1's 'Beyond the Grid' podcast.

"I remember sitting in Dubai with Ross [Brawn] and Nick Fry and Richard my manager discussing it, they were like, 'Yep, they're going to buy the team, they're not going to fund the team though the year, the funding for the team and developments would all be through sponsors'.

"I was like, 'Hang on, really?' [And they were] like, 'We're going to get sponsors, they're going to pay for the development of the car through the year and Mercedes are going to own the team'.

"I was like, 'Well that doesn't sound very promising and a little bit worrying in a way' and I also knew that, through the 2009 season, we hadn't developed the car and I knew they hadn't really worked on the 2010 car, and Ross also said that.

"So for me it was a uncomfortable position to be in, after winning the championship, to be [potentially] racing for them in 2010, [in] a new project that I wasn't sure if it would have the right funding.

"Whereas you look at McLaren, a team that looked very strong in the end of 2009. I knew they would give me opportunities to win every year I raced with them, so it was a no-brainer really."

While the dawning of the V6 Hybrid era would see Button's results plummet with McLaren switching to Honda, Mercedes have been crowned champion each year since 2014, but it does not furnish the Briton with any regrets.

He said: "Nobody could foresee what would happen with Mercedes five years down the road and I actually think the reason why Mercedes has become so big is because they had such a tough year in 2010.

"I think they were embarrassed as a manufacturer and thought, 'We can't have this' so they threw so much money at it and this is the monster we have now!"


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