I hope Jenson Button is being handsomely rewarded for his move to McLaren. He is World Champion so comes with the Number 1 on his car, is by all accounts a thoroughly good chap and, judging by his unswerving and largely uncomplaining dedication to BAR and Honda right through their many dark days, a team player of the highest calibre. The benefit of Button to McLaren could scarcely be clearer.
But the view from the other direction is rather more murky. Lewis Hamilton has been part of McLaren literally since childhood and has a talent of Senna and Schumacher proportions. When he became team-mate to Alonso in 2007, pundits queued up to say it was too much, too young, but in his rookie season Hamilton out-performed his illustrious, double world champion opponent and few would argue that he hasn’t been getting better ever since, least of all Heikki Kovalainen.
By comparison Button’s record against his team-mates down the years is somewhat patchy and even in his championship season appeared mentally vulnerable when his car was no longer the class of the field. Hamilton, by contrast, fought for every lap of every race in what was at the start of the season at least, the worst McLaren in a very long time.
The bottom line is that - try as I might - I cannot see Jenson coming off anything other than second best from the arrangement. For while I can see it might suit McLaren down to the ground to have such a talented and personable driver to play wingman to their chosen one, I’m not sure the reigning world champion will sit so comfortably in the role.
Like I said, I hope the off-track rewards are worth it.