Car No.: 22
Best Finish: 6th (Austria)
Fastest Laps: 0
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 15th
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
Despite having an option to race for McLaren in 2018, Jenson Button has most likely made his final start in Formula 1. 2016 was hardly a vintage year for the Briton, fading into the shadow of McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso and appearing somewhat disillusioned with life in F1.
There were a couple of occasions where Button impressed. Austria was perhaps his finest hour, qualifying a remarkable third and even running second for a while before eventually finishing the race sixth. Hockenheim was another high point, finishing eighth.
Otherwise, there was little to report in the way of good news. Button scored just five extra points from 2015 to 2016 despite McLaren’s significant progress, with his amusing radio calls instead being the most memorable part of the campaign.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Button’s roller coaster F1 career had one more downslope in 2016, and in some respects, it was painful to see his last two full seasons coincide with McLaren Honda’s struggles on track. Button has a soulful relationship with both brands – he’s long considered Japan his second home, and McLaren provided his career the continued shot of glory after his Brawn GP title win in 2009. Yet the last two years for Button have mirrored the 2007-2008 struggles in the Honda factory team, not the six years in-between from 2009 through 2014.
While Button’s 2016 season was better than last year, that’s not saying much at all. Fernando Alonso’s points totals increased from 11 to 54, while Button’s only went from 16 to 21. Other than Austria, the Button of old was nowhere to be found.
If he had a proper car at his disposal it could be great to see him ride off into the sunset that way. Alas, his great personality and humor brought to the paddock will be missed. Forever a World Champion, Button signs off after more than 300 races.