British driver confirms he'll see out the second year of his contract with the Woking grand prix team, ending speculation about his future
Matt Burt
1 October 2015

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.” 

Next season Button is due to become only the third driver after Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher to reach the milestone of 300 grand prix starts - he's currently on 279 starts.

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Comments
3

1 October 2015
Will be interesting to see if the "GP2" McLaren can beat the Manor Marussia Mercedes next year. Interesting that Jenson is now confirmed following last week's rumours. Perhaps McLaren was nervous that both drivers might leave making it doubly difficult to attract sponsors? Really though, this year has been a waste of both drivers' talent, the team would have been better of with young (inexpensive) drivers, spending the funds on trying to make the car go quicker.

1 October 2015
LP is the Honda powertrain. Drivers can't develop that. What experienced drivers can do is feedback about things like drivability and help make the chassis work. With inexperienced drivers the feedback would be useless. And the cars even slower than now if that is conceivable. The problem at Suzuka was the long pit straight because the Honda set up doesn't harness electricity as well as the others so it ran out and the cars "lost" about 160 bhp half way down leaving them sitting ducks at the entry to the first corner. Hence FA's comments about GP2 engines.

Also McLaren is one of the Grandee Teams and for them to have two or even one youngster is unthinkable. They don't have much sponsorship - particularly for next year announced yet - and without the star drivers frankly they aren't very attractive to anyone. JB is huge in Japan a key market for Honda obviously. He's also still very quick. Alonso, like Hamilton and all the others, was supposed to blow him away but it hasn't happened. The ratio of qualifying vs Alonso is meaningless to both due to the appalling performance and reliability from Honda. When both cars have been working JB has normally had the edge.

If we believe that JB was genuine about retiring if he didn't get assurances that Honda can get it together for next year then there must be signs of promise on the dyno. The main problem is that Honda won't short cut and just hire a decent engine man from Mercedes. It's "not the Honda way." They've always used F1 as a way of developing their engineers and buying in expertise they don't do.

1 October 2015
get its act together. No fun in seeing the two Macs trailing the field.

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