Jenson Button’s staying with McLaren, insists Ron Dennis

Published: Sunday 27th September 2015 by The News Editor

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Jenson Button will not retire from Formula One at the end of the season, according to McLaren’s chief executive officer Ron Dennis.

Button’s future has taken centre stage in Japan after it was claimed that the 2009 world champion was set to call time on his world championship career.

The 35-year-old, in the midst of a dreadful campaign with McLaren, suggested in Singapore that he had fallen out of love with the sport.

Button signed a two-year contract with McLaren at the end of last season, but the second term is optionable for both parties.

But Dennis, after seeing Button finish a miserable 16th and one lap down on race winner Lewis Hamilton at Honda’s home race in Suzuka, appeared to end any doubt over his driver line-up for next season.

“Jenson has a two-year contract,” said Dennis, who only arrived in the paddock on Sunday after being struck down with a virus.

“I should have taken away any doubt of our commitment to him earlier than I did.

“I did not speak to him until Thursday but at the end of the day it would have been more constructive if he had known I had no intention to exercise our option to terminate his contract.

“These sort of decisions are not mine and mine alone. They are decisions that have to be supported by the shareholders and I informed Jenson accordingly. But I could have done it a couple of days earlier and I don’t think it would have been an issue now.”

Button, who has been linked with a new career in the media as a presenter of Top Gear, as well as a move to the World Endurance Championship, joined McLaren in 2010. He challenged for the title in his debut season with the Woking-based team before finishing runner-up to Sebastian Vettel a year later.

But the Englishman has not stepped foot on the podium since his last victory at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012 and has only scored six points this term.

An apologetic Dennis added: “I think that the decision he found himself in was, like any relationship, that you need to know the other party wants you.

“There needs to be a human relationship in any partnership and I took that doubt away and I don’t think that doubt was constructive to his thinking.”

Dennis was then asked by Sky Sports F1 whether Button and Fernando Alonso, whose future is now also in doubt, will be racing at McLaren in 2016. He answered: “Yes. What more do you want?”

Button endured another miserable afternoon at a race which, until Sunday, he had never finished outside the top 10.

He started 14th here but finished two places lower and at one stage, in his gutless Honda-powered McLaren, was passed by both the Sauber of Felipe Nasr and Max Verstappen on the pit straight.

Button said: “I had not lifted and I was flat out. When there is that much difference in speed you don’t know what to do.

“We are so used to fighting whereas now it is not fighting . It is like a Samurai warrior without his armour and sword. It is very difficult.”

Published: Sunday 27th September 2015 by The News Editor

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