McLaren has confirmed that Jenson Button will race for the team once again in 2016, taking his Formula 1 career into a seventeenth season.
Button, 35, had been tipped to retire at the end of 2015 after a difficult season with McLaren that has seen the 2009 world champion score just six points thanks to the team’s struggles with new engine partner Honda.
However, in a statement issued by McLaren on Thursday morning, it was confirmed that Button will remain at Woking for 2016 after the team passed on its option to terminate his contract.
Successful talks between Button and McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis in recent weeks prompted the Briton to stay on for 2016 and continue his illustrious F1 career.
“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,” Button conceded.
“But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now, 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 realized it was the correct one.
“Okay, granted, 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.”
Dennis was delighted to confirm that Button would be remaining with the team for 2016, believing that it will only motivate everyone at Woking to get through its current tough spell.
“Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks, and the fact that our talks have led to today’s announcement is very pleasing to both of us and will delight and motivate all at McLaren-Honda,” Dennis said.
“As I have made clear whenever I have been asked about the subject, Jenson’s current contract is of two years. 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.
“That being the case, Jenson will race for McLaren-Honda next year, under the terms and conditions as set out in the two-year contract that both parties entered into a year ago.”