With the combined experience of 29 years in Formula One, both drivers have seen what it is to get pole, get podiums, win races and win the Driver’s World Championship. But who will have the edge next year when Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button both bid to prove their worth once again at McLaren?
In terms of qualifying and racing together, Alonso and Button will be close throughout the season, constantly pushing one another. Alonso may have that edge in qualifying, but both drivers have great overtaking techniques and I think it will be in the races where the McLaren will perform at its best.
In wet conditions, Jenson will be in his element, as he so regularly is at races like Silverstone, Belgium, Hungary and outside of Europe in Malaysia and Japan. This is where Jenson could make the jump on Fernando; as we have seen in his 15 years in Formula One, these conditions really suit his personal driving style.
Honda engine could prove a long-term boost
By the end of the season, I predict that their inter-team battle will come down to the final race, in terms of points, wins, and maybe even podiums if the McLaren and new Honda engine is a success. In the 2014 season, there were less than 40 points separating them – Alonso finished 6th in the Drivers Championship with 161 points, Button finished 8th with 126 points. Given the same cars, this gap may be smaller and it may come down primarily to reliability and which car finishes the most races…
With the new Honda engine, the team’s overall start to the season will no doubt be slow, with so much to learn for the 2015 season. Hopefully in Jerez and Barcelona at winter testing in February the pace will pick up (compared to the poor performance at the previous winter testing in Abu Dhabi), so we can see the McLaren as a real competitor to challenge for the top positions on the grid for 2015.
The inter-team battle however, will no doubt be competitive and consistent throughout, as the two most experienced and greatest drivers to grace Formula One enter the same team, lining up together and competing for the Championship. But with team-orders taken into consideration as well, we will have to wait and see if the two drivers will even be able to race….