Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso give McLaren serious cockpit credibility, now they must produce the car to match it

The announcement that Button and Alonso will line-up together in 2015 is the first step to recreating the glory years of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost

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"By some order of magnitude the best driver line-up in Formula One," cooed McLaren ceo Ron Dennis at this morning’s unveiling of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Now all he has to do is to produce a car worthy of it. Easier said than done.

The return to the sport of Honda will give McLaren notional grunt but dyno muscle, though necessary, is rarely sufficient in this game. McLaren need to hook the complete design package together to prosper. The performance advantage at Mercedes represents hard yards to close.

At least McLaren start 2015 with serious cockpit credibility. A combined three world titles and 47 race wins suggest opportunities will be taken if offered.


Despite the disappointment suffered at Ferrari, Alonso’s reputation, as arguably the most complete driver on the grid, remains intact. And in the right circumstances Button, too, has few equals.

Ross Brawn, in whose car Button won the 2009 world championship, put him in the same bracket as Michael Schumacher behind the wheel of a winning car. Praise indeed.

Ron Dennis and Eric Boullier

Dennis will not settle for second best. His return to the helm at the expense of his protégé, Martin Whitmarsh, is the truly significant development at Woking.

The first Honda-McLaren partnership was the most prolific in Formula One. None expects to reprise the glory years of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost tomorrow, but the day after is another story.

Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will drive for McLaren next season

'Second is the first of the losers' was always the Dennis mantra. Winning is not an option at McLaren, it’s an obligation. Welcome back.