Tag Archives: Jenson Button

Button: DNF won’t spoil my fantastic career

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In an interview with the media Jenson Button tells his fans not to feel sorry for his DNF in his final Formula One race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the Briton feels happy and content with his “fantastic career”.

Despite having a contract through 2018 with the McLaren team, the 2009 world champion announced earlier this week that he expected this Sunday’s contest to conclude his journey as a full-time competitor.

Button started from 12th on the grid at Yas Marina Circuit, Button was fighting on the fringes of the points-paying positions with Force India’s Sergio Perez when he suffered a suspension failure and limped back to the pits and into retirement.

In an interview with the media, Button stated that he didn’t know what the problem was and that he can’t change what happened and has accepted that. Button stated the following:-

‘I really don’t know what the problem is. Something failed on the car, which never happens to us. It’s a massive strength of our team, things don’t fail, but it did today of all days! But it’s done. I’ve always said you can’t change the past so live in the moment which is right now and I’m going to get a nice cold beer after this interview.’

When suggested to him further by the media that he had perhaps gone over the kerb too high, Button added the following:-

‘No. I didn’t with that tyre I don’t think, it was the left and it was the right that had that problem. I didn’t do anything different to what I’ve done in 17 years so it’s a surprise but there you go.

‘I’m glad I was able to figure it out before I hit the brakes for Turn 11. But anyway, it’s done. I enjoyed today massively. The race was short obviously, but I enjoyed everything else. It’s just sad for my fans and supporters really that I wasn’t able to finish.’

After 305 race starts, 15 wins, 50 podiums and one world title, Button then concluded his interview with a farewell message to his fans as follows:-

‘I’ll try and not get too emotional doing this but a massive thank you for your support since 2000 when I was a baby at 20 years old. I’ve had so many messages of support on social media saying they’ve watched me since I was a spotty teenager when I was 19 and thank you so much for the support. It’s been a rollercoaster ride obviously through the years.

‘People will go ‘Oh it’s so sad that Jenson didn’t get to end on a high’ but it’s not. I’m happy, I’m content and I had a fantastic career in F1 so thank you so much for that support.’

Button treating Abu Dhabi GP as his last GP

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In an interview with the media this week, Jenson Button says he is going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend thinking it will be his final race in Formula 1.

Earlier in the season, the British driver announced he will take a step away from F1 in 2017 but remain at McLaren as an ambassador and reserve driver.

He has been replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne. There is a possibility he could return to a race seat in 2018 with McLaren but currently he feels Abu Dhabi will be his final race in F1. Button said the following:-

‘I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race, I think that’s the best way. It is going to be my last race. At this moment in time, I don’t want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.

When asked if this was due to a new outlook, he replied:-

‘Nothing has changed. I’m just going into it thinking that it’s my last, as I don’t want to go into it thinking it’s not my last and it is my last. It is true that I have a contract for 2018, but at this moment I’m not going to be racing in 2018. The whole idea of the contract was that, in three months’ time, when I’ve eaten myself stupid, and I’m thinking of things to do in the future, I may feel that I need Formula 1 back in my life.

‘At this moment in time that isn’t the case. This is my last race, and that’s the way I’m thinking about it, but who knows, that could change in six months, eight months, one year.’

Vandoorne to replace Button at McLaren for 2017

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It was announced after qualifying for the Italian GP yesterday that Jenson Button will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren next year and take on a stand-by role that effectively marks his retirement from Formula One.

The new deal leaves the door open for a return in 2018 should Fernando Alonso decide to retire at the end of his contract in 2017, but in reality is likely to mark the end of Button’s 17-year Formula One career. Vandoorne has been a part of McLaren’s young driver programme since 2013 and made his debut at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix to substitute the injured Alonso for a single race.

McLaren confirmed the news after qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, putting an end to a year of speculation about Button’s future. Although it has been clear for some time that Vandoorne would replace Button at McLaren, Williams showed interest in the 2009 champion if a deal could be found at the right price.

However, Button said he made his mind up over the summer break to take the McLaren offer, which will now see him focus on team and car development at the Woking-based team. Button said the following at the announcement yesterday:-

‘I’m delighted that I’ll be staying on as a key member of the McLaren-Honda team. In fact I’m massively excited about my new role, which has come about as a result of a number of in-depth chats with Ron. Specifically, I’m looking forward to becoming even more deeply involved in the team’s efforts to bring about the success we’ve all been striving to deliver.

‘I love McLaren-Honda — I firmly believe it’s made up of the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with — and I have no intention of ever driving for another Formula 1 team.

‘To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring. I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point.’

In his own statement to the media yesterday McLaren boss Ron Dennis added the following:-

‘McLaren-Honda’s race driver line-up next season will be Fernando and Stoffel — a perfectly balanced mix of proven brilliance and immense potential. But, before I speak on the subject of either of them, I want to talk about Jenson. As a race driver for our team these past seven seasons, he’s been superb, both on and off the track. And, as we’re seeing this season, he remains superb – not only fast and fit but also experienced and expert. He’ll start his 298th Grand Prix tomorrow; as such, he’s the most experienced driver on the grid.

‘Having extended his contract to include 2017 and 2018, he’ll continue to be a senior, influential and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He’ll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it.

‘On behalf of all at McLaren-Honda, I want to say how thrilled we are that Jenson has extended his contractual relationship with us. Moreover, I’m absolutely certain that the depth of his experience and the currency of his expertise will give us an advantage over our opposition next season.’

Button came close to leaving McLaren at the end of 2014 when team boss Ron Dennis wanted to keep his teammate Kevin Magnussen on board, but Dennis was outvoted at board level by fellow shareholder Mansour Ojjeh and the Bahraini government’s Mumtalakat investment fund. Rumours Button would be replaced by Vandoorne also followed him into the final rounds of the 2015 season, but again the British driver held on for another season to drive alongside Alonso this year.

Assuming Button does not return to the grid in 2018, this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark Button’s 308th and last Formula One race. Since joining Williams at the age of 20, Button has driven for Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn and McLaren, scoring 15 race wins and 50 podiums to date. His championship victory in 2009 remains one of the sport’s fairytale stories after team boss Ross Brawn made an 11th hour deal with Honda to buy its team before going on to win both drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

Massa unfazed about Button being linked to Williams for 2017

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In an interview with the media this week, Williams driver Felipe Massa is not worried about being replaced by Jenson Button at Williams despite speculation the 2009 champion will return to the team next season.

Button, who made his debut with Williams in 2000, looks set to be one of the main talking points in the driver market this year, as he was in 2014 and 2015 before being retained by McLaren on both occasions. He is out of contract this year and McLaren has a tough decision to make with highly-rated Stoffel Vandoorne, the 2015 GP2 champion, waiting to step up to F1.

With Fernando Alonso contracted until the end of 2017, the man who would make way for Vandoorne would be Button. If he moved to Williams it would have implications for one of the team’s current drivers, Massa and Valtteri Bottas. In his interview with the media this week, Massa is not unsettled with these rumours flying around and if he has the chance he would like to remain with Williams. Massa stated the following:-

‘For sure not. We all know about rumours in Formula One, and to be honest I am zero scared and worried about anything. I am really happy working for Williams – this is a team which gives me a lot of pleasure to work for – and I see the same with them working for me.

‘It would be nice to stay, but it would be nice to stay in a team where you really see that you can do a good job and have a good future. I am ready for everything to be honest.’

Button: I hope our strategy is wrong

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In an interview with ESPN F1 today, Jenson Button hopes strategy and not a lack of pace was to blame for his disappointing thirteenth place at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The McLaren-Honda team fitted fresh medium tyres to Button’s car after the deployment of the safety car in China at a time most of its rivals switched to softs, making for a painful stint against cars on a quicker compound. If strategy cannot be blamed, Button in his interview with ESPN F1 today, thinks the result is proof McLaren is simply not quick enough to be challenging for points on a regular basis. Button said the following:-

‘After the safety car we put on the medium and I’m not sure it was the right [choice], we’ll have to look at the data. Everyone else was on the soft tyre and it was just really, really difficult in terms of pace. We’ll have to see if that was the right tyre to have on the car or not. If it wasn’t then we had a chance of battling into the points, but if it was the right choice then we’re still away from the points.

‘Then we put that [super-soft] tyre on at the end trying to do a two-stop but it didn’t look like it was ever going to work. We could have stayed out on the medium but I was in 11th and I thought I’d rather have some fun but the option tyre just disintegrated after about three laps.

‘But anyway, we weren’t in the points. Hopefully we made the wrong strategy call putting on the medium because if we didn’t we’re not quick enough to be in the points at the moment, because nothing else went wrong so I’m hoping that was the wrong choice and we made a mistake there. Maybe our pace just isn’t good enough, or make it was the wrong choice of tyre, we’ll have to have a look.’

From what Button has stated in his interview today, I believe McLaren did use the incorrect strategy as at certain points in the race, Button showed that he can race as well as other midfield teams such as Toro Rosso and Force India. But at the end of the day, the team made a decision that did not pay for them and all they can do is analyse the data, see what happened and take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

But overall, the fact that Button ran as high as fourth in the Chinese GP today shows that McLaren-Honda have made slow, gradual and positive steps to get more pace and performance out of their car and power unit. There might be a way to go still; but everything is starting to come together slowly and let’s hope that they use the information gathered from today to keep on developing their car throughout the rest of the season ahead.

Button opens fan vote on Twitter for helmet design

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It was announced via Twitter today that McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button has called on Twitter followers to vote on his helmet design for the upcoming season.

Button is set for a 17th F1 season after being retained alongside Fernando Alonso for 2016. Last year saw Button carry the fourth helmet (excluding one-offs) design of his career, a red and white lid with an image of Papa Smurf on the side, a reference to the nickname of his late father John, who died in 2014, as well as Japanese lettering. It was a slight change on the classic helmet he wore between 2000-2008 and 2010-2013.

Button has asked his Twitter fans today to choose between both designs for the upcoming season. A rule change at the start of 2015 states drivers are not allowed to significantly change their helmet design during the course of a year in order to help fans identify them better.

The 2009 world champion has given his fans the choice between two designs as follows:-

In his championship-winning campaign in 2009, Button wore a fluorescent yellow helmet, which matched the colour scheme of Brawn GP. In 2014 he gave his classic design an inverted pink colour scheme in tribute to his father , who died at the beginning of that season. Neither of those helmets have been included in his Twitter poll.

Which design will you all vote for?

Magnussen: Button was ready to retire in 2014

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In an interview with the media today, Kevin Magnussen claims that  Jenson Button was preparing to retire from F1 in late 2014 and says he had been assured of a seat at McLaren for 2015.

After a mixed rookie campaign in 2014, Magnussen was dropped by McLaren in a drawn out saga which saw them opt for the experience of Button alongside new signing Fernando Alonso. After a year on the sidelines as reserve driver Magnussen was dropped by McLaren earlier this season but he says he had been led to believe a senior drive was his just a year earlier.

In an interview with Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet today, Magnussen explains that he was told he would be driving for McLaren in 2015 as follows:-

‘I was told that it was my seat [for 2015]. That I didn’t need to worry. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but it was at the end of the season.’

However McLaren’s decision to retain Button was helped by the 2009 world champion’s strong finish to that campaign, which helped the team hold off Force India for fifth in the constructors’ championship. Further on in his interview today, Magnussen thinks Button’s late resurgence came from the mindset he was about to retire. Magnussen added the following:-

‘Jenson had his two best races at the end. He did really well. But he had also hung photos of his entire career in his room. He had a helmet ready to go that said ‘Goodbye’ on it. He was driving only to have fun and enjoy his last two races without stress or pressure, believing 100 percent that he was done in Formula One.’

Button faced similar questions about retiring this year before signing a new deal for 2016, which will see him partner Alonso again. Magnussen finally added in the final stages of his interview that he has nothing but respect for his former team-mate and understands the reasons he lost out on the 2015 drive as follows:-

‘Jenson is one of the best and there’s nothing [negative] between us. We are in the same sport and competing for the same seats. There is full respect. I know why he got the seat and there’s nothing between him and me at all.’

Even though Magnussen was eventually dropped from his reserve driver role at McLaren via an email this October, all you can say is that he deserved another chance in 2015 to build on his performances as a rookie. But even though he did his test driver duties for McLaren this season, the manner is which they have treated him is disgusting and he deserves the utter most respect for the way he has handled the situation in the media.

As for what Magnussen has stated in his interview today, that might have been Button’s plans at that time in 2014. But things are not fixed in Formula One and can change for the good or for the worst which Kevin has found out to his cost. But it is great to see him having the utter most respect for Jenson and is now at peace as to why things have happened to him the way they have and I wish him all the best for his career in whatever he chooses to do.