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Formula One's Fernando Alonso returns to McLaren to join Jenson Button

Formula One driver Fernando Alonso returns to McLaren-Honda team for next season

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso rejoined the McLaren-Honda team for next season and will be paired with another former champion, British driver Jenson Button.

Alonso's move came after the Spaniard -- who was winless this year and finished sixth in the title standings -- recently parted ways with the Ferrari team.

That made room for four-time champion Sebastian Vettel to replace him at Ferrari after Vettel left Red Bull Racing.

McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis said in a statement Thursday that the team signed Alonso "a little while ago" but held off announcing the deal until it re-signed Button, the 2009 champion.

Button's teammate this year was Kevin Magnussen, who will remain with McLaren as a test and reserve driver.

Formula One watchers are curious to see how Alonso, 33, and McLaren will mesh because Alonso's previous stint with the team, in 2007, did not go well.

Alonso joined the team after winning back-to-back titles with Renault in 2005-06. But at McLaren he chafed from the attention McLaren accorded his young teammate Lewis Hamilton, who would win his first title the next year. (Hamilton won his second title, with Mercedes, this year.)

McLaren also was engulfed in a spying scandal in 2007 in which McLaren obtained car data from leaked technical documents belonging to Ferrari, resulting in a $100-million fine against McLaren. Alonso then left the team after just that one year together.

But this time, naturally, Alonso and McLaren exchanged optimistic praise.

"I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me," Alonso said in a statement.

Dennis, in turn, said "McLaren's policy has always been to assemble the strongest lineup possible, and in Fernando and Jenson I firmly believe that is exactly what we have."

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