Oct.1 (GMM/Inautonews.com) McLaren has ended speculation about Jenson Button’s future by announcing on Thursday that the Briton is staying at the Honda-powered team in 2016.
The rumours were so intense ahead of the Japanese grand prix last weekend that international reporters were surprised when, at the FIA press conference, the popular 35-year-old did not announce his retirement.
But supremo Ron Dennis said after the Suzuka race that he never had any intention of triggering the team’s option to terminate Button’s two-year deal.
And Dennis said on Thursday: “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.
“As I say, I am extremely pleased,” the 68-year-old added in a statement.
2009 world champion Button, meanwhile, admitted that he did contemplate calling time on his 16-year 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,” he said.
“(Dennis) 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,” added Button.
Thursday’s statement did not mention Button’s current teammate Fernando Alonso even once, with the Woking team explaining: “Today is about JB.”