McLaren has retained Jenson Button for the 2016 season, ending speculation that the 2009 world champion will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the year.
The Briton is one year through a two-year contract with the Woking-based team, although there is an option to terminate the deal at the close of the 2015 season. As recently as last weekend’s race in Japan, it had been rumoured that he could quit F1 and switch to sportscar racing with Porsche.
McLaren chairman and chief executive Ron Dennis said: “There is a 'terminate after year one' option that McLaren could have triggered if we had wished to do so, but, once it became clear from my many conversations with Jenson that he remained as enthusiastic and as committed and as focused as ever, that option immediately became an irrelevance.”
Button said: “Over the past month or so I have done quite a lot of thinking, and it is no secret that I was at one point in two minds about my future.
“But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now [2010-2015], and in that time I have got to know Ron very well. He and I have had some very good chats these past few weeks, and during those chats it has become clear to me that Ron is both utterly determined and uniquely equipped to lead our team through its current difficulties to great successes in the future.
“That gives me great confidence, and it is for that reason that, together, he and I have decided to continue our partnership; and, as soon as I had made that decision, straight away I realised it was the correct one.
“This year has not been an easy one for us, but we know what we need to do to improve things and, in collaboration with Honda, we will work extremely hard over the next weeks and months in order to make sure that 2016 will be a much better season than 2015 has been.”