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F1 2015 Driver Review: Jenson Button

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Jenson Button

Team: McLaren Honda
Car No.: 22
Races: 18
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 6th (USA)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 16
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 16th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

It’s been an odd year for both Jenson Button and McLaren. Following troublesome seasons in 2013 and 2014, 2015 was supposed to be the year that everything began to turn back in the right direction with the reforging of the famed partnership with Honda. In reality, the fortunes of the team nosedived, taking Button with them.

JB’s career has been full of trials and tribulations. His last experience with Honda back in 2008 was demoralizing, but this came as a greater surprise. Many thought that McLaren Honda would be bad in 2015 after the initial tests, but not this bad.

Button kept fighting as he always does. Points came when there wasn’t so much of an emphasis on engine power or grunt in Monaco and Hungary, and he managed to make the most of the madness in Austin to run up to sixth place thanks to the damp conditions.

But what else is there to say? Button has another season to move up the field after McLaren passed on its option to terminate his contract, and we can only hope that the Briton gets a better, deserved season in 2016.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

If there’s a positive to be said for the 2009 World Champion, it’s that Button’s been through as many valleys as peaks throughout his now 16-year career. And usually, in years following a dip in his car’s form, he’s been able to rebound nicely either the next year or the year after.

The less said about 2015 the better, quite frankly. Seeing Button and Fernando Alonso struggle to make it out of Q1 was just sad to watch. All the while, both drivers – publicly anyway – did a great job of sugarcoating how tough it was. To Button’s credit, on the few opportunities points were available, he seized them.

So the early guess is that 2016 has to better. In 2001, Button scored in only one race and finished 17th in points; he scored in seven and was seventh the next year. In 2008, of course, he was 18th in points, and courtesy of the miracle that was Brawn GP in 2009, he became the champ. Can another sub-teen points result come good with a distinct turnaround next year, if the reliability turns? We sure hope so.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.