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World champion Button joins McLaren F1 team

Jenson Button (right) and Lewis Hamilton (left) will be McLaren teammates for 2010.
Jenson Button (right) and Lewis Hamilton (left) will be McLaren teammates for 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jenson Button signs a three-year deal with McLaren according to British media reports
  • Button visited McLaren headquarters earlier this month as he was being lured to the team
  • Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen will not race in Formula One in 2010
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(CNN) -- World champion race driver Jenson Button has joined the McLaren Formula One team, McLaren announced Wednesday.

The jump to powerhouse McLaren -- already the home of previous world champion Lewis Hamilton -- creates the first team to start a season with the two previous world champions racing together, McLaren said.

British media reports said the deal was worth $30 million over three years.

Both Button, 29, and Hamilton, 24, are British.

Button visited McLaren headquarters earlier this month as he was being lured to the team, he said in a statement Wednesday.

"It wasn't simply the technical resources and the incredible standards of excellence that impressed me," Button said.

"I was equally struck by the ambition, the motivation and the winning spirit that flow through everybody there. And then there's the team's epic history: put it this way, the trophy cabinets seem to stretch for miles."

The Guardian newspaper reported that Button's former team, Brawn GP, offered to double Button's salary to keep the driver for 2010, but the terms were rejected.

News of the decision coincides with an official announcement from German carmaker Mercedes-Benz that their allegiance has moved from McLaren to Brawn; the current champion constructors will compete under the Mercedes banner next season.

Button's switch comes after news that former world champion Kimi Raikkonen will not race in Formula One in 2010, after failing to secure a team.

The Finn's manager, David Robertson, told the BBC he had been trying to secure a deal with McLaren for the former Ferrari driver but the offer had not been enough for the 30-year-old to sign.

It seems Raikkonen will now turn his attention to the World Rally Championship instead: "It wasn't in his interests to race for what [McLaren] were offering so he's going to go rallying," Robertson said.

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