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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jenson Button
MBE
Jenson Button bahrain 2012.jpg
BornJenson Alexander Lyons Button
(1980-01-19) 19 January 1980 (age 40)
Frome, Somerset, England
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Active years20002017
TeamsWilliams, Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn, McLaren
Entries309 (306 starts)
Championships1 (2009)
Wins15
Podiums50
Career points1,235
Pole positions8
Fastest laps8
First entry2000 Australian Grand Prix
First win2006 Hungarian Grand Prix
Last win2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Last entry2017 Monaco Grand Prix
Super GT GT500 Championship career
Debut season2017
Current teamTeam Kunimitsu
Car number1
Former teamsTeam Mugen
Starts17
Championships1 (2018)
Wins1
Podiums6
Poles1
Fastest laps0
Best finish1st in 2018

Jenson Alexander Lyons Button MBE (born 19 January 1980) is a British racing driver and former Formula One driver. He won the 2009 Formula One World Championship, driving for Brawn GP. After his Formula One career, he became a champion of the Super GT Series in 2018, driving a Honda car for Team Kunimitsu.

Button began karting at the age of eight and achieved early success, before progressing to car racing in the British Formula Ford Championship and the British Formula 3 Championship. He first drove in Formula One with Williams for 2000. The following year he switched to Benetton, which in 2002 became Renault, and then for 2003 he moved to BAR. In 2004 he finished third in the World Drivers' Championship, falling to ninth a year later. BAR was subsequently renamed Honda for 2006, during which Button won his first Grand Prix in Hungary, after 113 races.

Following the withdrawal of Honda from the sport in December 2008, Button was left without a team for the 2009 season. In February 2009, Ross Brawn led a management buyout of Honda, creating Brawn GP and recruiting Button as a driver. Button went on to win a record-equalling six of the first seven races of the 2009 season, securing the World Drivers' Championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix, having led on points all season; his success also helped Brawn GP to secure the World Constructors' Championship.

For 2010, he moved to McLaren, partnering fellow British racer and former World Champion Lewis Hamilton. After finishing fifth for the team in 2010, Button ended the 2011 season as runner-up, before falling to fifth in 2012. A further four seasons with McLaren resulted in no further victories and his final Formula One race was the Monaco Grand Prix. From the 306 races that Button has started he won 15, and took 50 podium finishes.

Family background

Button was born on 19 January 1980 in Frome, Somerset and brought up in nearby Vobster.[1] He is the fourth child of the half-South African Simone Lyons and former Rallycross driver John Button from London's East End, who was well known in the United Kingdom during most of the 1970s for his so-called Colorado Beetle Volkswagen.[2] They met in Newquay at a young age and were reunited after a musical concert at Longleat. According to John, Jenson was named after his Danish friend and rallycross opponent Erling Jensen, changing the "e" to an "o" to differentiate it from Jensen Motors, while Simone recalls that she named him Jenson after noticing a Jensen sports car and thought the change of name would be "more mannish".[3] After his parents divorced when he was seven, he and his three elder sisters were brought up by their mother in Frome.[4] Button was educated at Vallis First School, Selwood Middle School and Frome Community College.[5] His karting career limited his studying and he left school with one GCSE. Button failed his first driving test for driving between two cars on a narrow road.[6]

Karting career

Button enjoyed racing from an early age, racing a BMX bike with friends after school,[7] and began watching Formula One motor racing with his father around the age of five or six. He idolised the four-time world champion Alain Prost for his calm personality and intellectual approach to driving.[8] Button's father gave him a 50cc bike for his seventh birthday; he discarded it after half an hour because of its lack of speed, which would have required his father to remove its restrictor,[9] and he disliked the idea of his father that he progress to the 80cc category of bike. John later talked to the rallycross driver and Ripspeed car accessories owner Keith Ripp at a London car show about his son; Kipp recommenced the purchase of a go-kart suited for the Cadets class for eight to twelve year-old karters for the young boy. Button received the kart as a Christmas present in 1987 and he began karting at the Clay Pigeon Raceway at the age of eight.[10]

Button after finishing third at the 1996 Ayrton Senna Memorial Trophy
Button after finishing third at the 1996 Ayrton Senna Memorial Trophy

He was required to drive on slick tyres on a wet track because his father wanted him to learn car control on a sodden track surface and taught him basic driving techniques by standing at a corner and pointing to where his son should brake.[11] Button made an successful start: In 1989, aged nine, he came first in the British Super Prix.[12] Midway through the year, his father spoke to him about progressing to the club level since others noticed a competitive nature. Button said he was interested in a progression.[13] He won all 34 races of the 1991 British Cadet Kart Championship and the title with team Wright karts.[14] Afterwards Button told his father that his objective was to compete in Formula One and he was given a map to chart his progress in karting. The two agreed to give each other more autonomy and Button was mentored by mechanic Dave Spencer during his move from the Cadets to Juniors classes. Spencer told him to be more aggressive and less smooth in his driving in Junior karts because they have more power than a Cadet kart. Button was also required to manage the condition of his tyres to maintain their grip.[15]

Further successes followed, including three triumphs in the British Open Kart Championship.[12] He began doubting his ability to win races in 1992 after a series of sub-par performances. Button then told his father that he wanted to continue racing after the suggestion of a two-month hiatus from karting was dismissed by him. The family telephoned Spencer for advice; he and Button's father constructed the young boy's karts and they influenced his school headteacher to change his fitness regime and had to eschew unhealthy beverages.[16] Spencer helped him to observe and concentrate on how his fellow competitors drove their karts. Button continued to be coached by Spencer until the latter's youngest son Danny died in an multi-kart accident at the Hunts Kart Racing Club in Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire in late 1994.[17] Button was the youngest runner-up of the Formula A World Championship at the age of 15.[18] He was signed to drive Tecno-Rotax karts for Team GKS and was fifth in the 1996 European Formula A Championship and third in the Formula A World Cup.[19][20] In 1997, Button was moved to the top-level of karting Formula Super A by his team, and won the Ayrton Senna Memorial Cup for finishing second in the 1997 Japanese World Cup,[19][21] and also became the youngest driver and first Briton in history to claim the European Super A Championship.[12][21]

Junior car career

Aged 18, Button moved into single seater car racing after his mentor Paul Lemmens spoke to the racing manager and former driver Harald Huysman about him.[20] He was signed to the businessperson David Robertson and Huysman's managerial stable and the two men found him sponsorship to continue driving.[22] Robertson wanted Button to test a Dallara Formula Three Mugen-Honda car run by Carlin Motorsport at the Pembrey Circuit in Wales and quickly became acclimatised with a more powerful vehicle that had extra downforce. Huysman and Robertson wanted Button to enter Formula Three; the latter said he could not do so because he had no experience of car racing and did not want to enter the category for fear of immediately being noncompetitive. Button instead moved into Formula Ford for the 1998 season.[23] He took the British Formula Ford Championship in a Haywood Racing Mygale SJ98 car with nine victories and won the season-ending Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.[18][24]

At the end of 1998, Button won the annual Autosport BRDC Award. His prize included a test in a McLaren Formula One car, which he received at the end of the following year.[14] Huysman and Robertson sought a seat for him in Formula Three and spoke to Promatecme team owner Serge Saulnier, who did not want to sign Button because he was not part of Renault's driver academy. Additional lobbying from Mygale and Lemmens convinced Sauliner to give Button a test, which was held at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France. He impressed Saulnier and was offered a seat at Promatecme, which he accepted. Salunier taught Button on the downforce of Formula Three cars and how to maintain it.[25] Button drove in the British Formula 3 International Series in 1999 in a Renault-powered Dallara F399 car,[24] with guidance from trainer-physiotherapist Josef Leberer.[26] He won three times —at Thruxton, Pembrey and Silverstone—and finished the season as the top rookie driver, and third overall.[27] He finished fifth and second respectively in the Marlboro Masters and Macau Grand Prix, losing out by 0.035 seconds to winner Darren Manning in the latter.[14]

Button was required to decide on his future in motor racing after the 1999 British Formula 3 Championship had concluded. He did not want to compete in a further season in Formula Three and tested a higher-tier Formula 3000 car, which he disliked because it had a sequential gearbox that required him to drive aggressively.[28]

Williams (2000)

At the end of 1999, Button had his McLaren test prize at the Silverstone club circuit and impressed team owner Ron Dennis. He also tested for the Prost team because the team owner Alain Prost was impressed by Button's ability and asked him to test at the Circuit de Catalunya.[9][22] Prost subsequently invited Button and his management team to Paris in December 1999. Button was offered a drive in Formula 3000 with Prost before becoming his Formula One team's test driver for one season to prepare for competitive driving. He did not commit because Prost had not prepared to fulfill the promise of a Formula One seat.[29] Huysman and Robertson declined an offer for him to join the McLaren team after Dennis approached them and rejected a seat from Jaguar chairman Jackie Stewart.[30]

A vacant race seat became available at the Williams team, following the departure of two-time CART champion Alessandro Zanardi.[a][31] On 24 December 1999, team founder and principal Frank Williams telephoned Button,[32] who first thought it was a joke,[12][31] and he asked whether the latter was ready to drive in Formula One to which he said he was not. Button's father then instructed him to telephone Williams that he was indeed ready.[32] Button and Williams met at the latter's headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire and a 'shoot-out' test was arranged between Button and Formula 3000 racer and test driver Bruno Junqueira at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain,[32] with Button securing the drive.[b] This made him Britain's youngest ever Formula One driver.[13][33] Button did not hold a FIA Super Licence and the FIA president Max Mosley required him to complete 300 km (190 mi) on two days in a row of testing and support from 18 of the 26 members of the Formula One Commission.[34] The FIA later elected to issue him with a super licence regardless.[35] Button worked with a physiotherapist to help build the strength to drive an Formula One car.[36]

A sixth-place finish at the season's second race in Brazil made him, at the time, the youngest driver in history to score a point.[37] In his first six races, he qualified higher than his teammate Ralf Schumacher twice, and was consistently close in pace.[38][39] However, Williams had intended to use Button only until they could exercise their option to buy the highly rated Juan Pablo Montoya out of his contract at Chip Ganassi Racing.[40] A dip in Button's form, combined with Montoya's victory in the 2000 Indianapolis 500, led to Montoya being announced as his replacement midway through the season. Williams chose not to sell Button's contract, keeping the right to recall him in 2003. He went to Benetton on a two-year loan.[41]

Button's best qualification of the season was third place in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps; and his best result was fourth in the German Grand Prix.[24] After concerns about his inexperience, he made a few errors during the season, the most notable coming in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Under safety car conditions Button swerved to avoid the pack which had bunched up, and subsequently crashed into a barrier.[31] Button finished his debut season in eighth place with 12 points.[24]

Benetton (2001)

Button at the 2001 French Grand Prix driving for Benetton.
Button at the 2001 French Grand Prix driving for Benetton.

For 2001, Button partnered experienced driver Giancarlo Fisichella at Benetton, which had recently been purchased by Renault. His car was very uncompetitive due to a lack of power steering and horsepower to the faster teams coupled with a lack of testing before the season and he was consistently outperformed by his teammate.[42][43] He finished 17th in the Drivers' Championship with a total of two points scored; his best result was a fifth-place finish at the German Grand Prix.[24] His poor form led to speculation he would be replaced before the end of the year;[42] team principal Flavio Briatore said, "Either he shows he's super-good or he leaves the top echelon of drivers",[44] and reportedly offered him the chance to leave.[45] Button believed that his inexperience showed as he struggled to help his team set up a competitive car.[45] His lack of success combined with an extravagant lifestyle led some press publications to dub him a "playboy".[46]

Renault (2002)

Button competing for Renault at the 2002 British Grand Prix
Button competing for Renault at the 2002 British Grand Prix

In 2002, Benetton was re-branded as Renault, and Jarno Trulli joined the team to partner Button.[44] In a bid to improve his public image over the pre-season interval,[47] Button separated from Robertson and Huysman and signed to the sport managerial stable of the lawyer John Byfield.[48] He subsequently ventured for nine days to a ranch in Kenya to become acquainted with his peers and undertake physical training to eliminate a shoulder and back problem that had hindered him during 2001.[47][49] Button later spent a lot of time working with his engineering team and felt there was an improved understanding between them; Button described himself as "very confident" for the season.[44]

At the season's second race in Malaysia, he was set for his first podium before a rear suspension problem in the final lap dropped him to fourth place. Button's performances were greatly improved from 2001 because his car had power steering and launch control; although often outqualified by Trulli, he showed the faster race pace to outscore his more experienced teammate. Despite Button's performances, and his desire to stay with Renault, he was told by Briatore by telephone that test driver Fernando Alonso would replace him in 2003.[50] Briatore faced criticism for his decision, but stated "time will tell if I am wrong";[50] he would also accuse Button of being a "lazy playboy".[12] In July, Button signed a two-year contract with a two-year option for British American Racing (BAR), partnering 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, after discussions with several teams fell through. An important factor in his decision was the chance to work with David Richards, the BAR team principal.[51] He finished the season seventh with 14 points.[24]

BAR (2003–2005)

2003

Button faced early hostility from new teammate Villeneuve, who said Button "should be in a boy band" and was not on speaking terms with him.[52] Their relationship did not improve after the first Grand Prix in Australia: Villeneuve was due to pit, but stayed out an extra lap and pitted when Button was due in, leaving Button waiting in the pit lane while Villeneuve's car was serviced. Villeneuve blamed it on "radio problems", but both Button and team principal David Richards hinted that they did not believe him.[53] Button scored eight points in the first six races, including fourth place at the Austrian Grand Prix; Villeneuve had scored only three.[54] His relationship with Villeneuve improved thereafter because of his better performance and said his comments were caused by inter-team changes.[55] A high speed crash for Button during Saturday qualifying in Monaco, briefly knocked him unconscious, and he was detained in hospital overnight. Despite the accident Button still wanted to race, but was withdrawn by his team on medical advice. He was cleared to race in the following Grand Prix in Montreal.[56] Button continued to outperform his teammate and this helped rebuild his previously faltering reputation.[57] Just before the final race in Japan, Villeneuve lost his seat at BAR, so Button was partnered with Takuma Sato;[58] he took his second fourth place for the season, and finished ninth in the Drivers' Championship with 17 points.[24]

Button driving for BAR at the 2004 United States Grand Prix.
Button driving for BAR at the 2004 United States Grand Prix.

2004

The 2004 season was the first in which Button was the more experienced driver in his team. He was ambitious for the season, saying he wanted to challenge consistently for points and podium finishes.[59] He took his first ever podium in the second race of the season—third-place at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He followed it up two weeks later with another third-place in Bahrain. In the next race at Imola, he took his first pole position and finished second behind Michael Schumacher.[60] He took 10 podiums in 18 races, and scored no points in three.[39][61] Button came third in the Drivers' Championship and helped BAR to take second in the Constructors' Championship.[24]

In August, Button became embroiled in a contract dispute. On 5 August, Button chose to leave BAR and signed a two-year contract to return to Williams.[62] He did so because BAR were not a works manufacturer team but Williams were in a partnership with BMW and felt they could help him win the Drivers' Championship.[63] This was surprising, as Button was enjoying his best season to date, while Williams had been struggling.[64] BAR insisted they had the right to exercise their option to keep Button. Button's management argued that the BAR option was not valid because it contained a clause allowing him to leave if BAR risked losing their Honda engines. They felt the new contract signed in the summer for Honda to supply engines to BAR was not definitive, and thus Button was free to move.[64][65] The dispute went to Formula One's Contract Recognition Board, who ruled in favour of BAR on 20 October, forcing Button to stay with the team.[65] Button separated from his manager John Byfield as a result, saying he had been badly advised.[66] He asked his friend Richard Goodard to manage him,[63] and employed a personal assistant as part of a restructuring of his organisation.[67]

2005

Button at the 2005 Canadian Grand Prix, where he took pole position.
Button at the 2005 Canadian Grand Prix, where he took pole position.

Despite the feud, Button insisted he had his team's backing,[68] and was optimistic for the 2005 season.[69] He endured a difficult start: BAR were off the pace in the first race in Australia;[70] and in the following race in Malaysia, both cars retired with engine failure after only three laps.[71] The sub-par start got worse at the San Marino Grand Prix. He was disqualified from third place after race scrutineers found his car had a second fuel tank inside the main one, that when drained, made his car underweight. The FIA International Court of Appeal banned Button and his team from the next two races as a result.[72] Following his return, he took the second pole position of his career in Montreal, but crashed out after an error while running third.[73] After the United States Grand Prix, Button scored in all of the remaining races with two third-place finishes in Germany and Belgium to end the season in ninth place on 37 points.[24]

For the second year in a row, Button had contract disputes involving BAR and Williams. Button had signed a pre-contract to drive for Williams in 2006, but he now believed his prospects would be better at BAR, and that his Williams contract was not binding.[74] Frank Williams insisted the contract was fully binding, and that there would be "absolutely no turning back"; his team required Button to fulfill some contractual obligations with sponsors.[75] After several weeks of talks, Williams agreed to release Button in exchange for an estimated £18 million in compensation.[76]

Honda (2006–2008)

2006

Button driving the Honda RA106 which he drove to victory at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Button driving the Honda RA106 which he drove to victory at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

BAR was renamed Honda prior to 2006 following a buyout by the Japanese manufacturer and Button was partnered by the experienced Rubens Barrichello. The new team performed well in testing, helped by the extra resources now available from Honda, and Button was confident in the car.[77] He had been frustrated by not converting his increasing experience and confidence in his driving into success in 2005 and was excited about Honda's development into his car and engine enabling him to challenge for race victories.[78] Button scored points in five of the first eleven races and took a third-place finish at the season's second round, the Malaysian Grand Prix, and then pole position at the following Australian Grand Prix.[39] He took the first win of his career in 2006 at a rain-affected Hungarian Grand Prix from a 14th position start – the 113th Grand Prix start of his career.[79] Button finished fourth or fifth at each of the next five races and finished the season with a podium finish at the final round in Brazil. Over the last six races of the season, Button scored more points (35) than any other driver.[80]

2007–2008

Button driving for Honda at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix.
Button driving for Honda at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix.

In 2007, Button again drove with Honda alongside Barrichello. He was unable to take part in winter testing, prior to the season because of two hairline fractures to his ribs, sustained in a karting incident in late 2006.[81] The Honda RA107 that Button drove proved to be aerodynamically poor from a lack of grip after the appointment of Shuhei Nakamoto as Senior Technical Director and the departure of Geoff Willis.[82][83] His campaign was worse than in 2006, driving within the middle of the field and usually qualifying outside of the top ten. He scored six points over the course of the season to place 15th in the Drivers' Championship with a best finish of fifth at the rain-affected Chinese Grand Prix.[14][24]

Button driving for Honda at the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix.
Button driving for Honda at the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix.

Button stayed with Honda for 2008, and continued to be partnered by Barrichello. He and a group of friends went to Lanzarote to establish a base for training for the upcoming season. Button was confident since the technical director Ross Brawn became Honda's team principal and noticed wind tunnel designs of the car.[84] Button began working with human performance coach Michael Collier that year.[61] The Honda RA108 proved to be uncompetitive, and he scored his only points at the Spanish Grand Prix with a sixth place.[84]

On 4 December 2008, Honda withdrew from Formula One, due to the global economic crisis, leaving Button's chances of a drive in 2009 dependent on the team finding a buyer.[85][86] He was informed of the news by his manager Richard Goodard the day before and the news was forwarded to Button's parents. Button had intended to discuss the performance of his 2009 car but the news prompted him to visit Honda's factory and discuss Honda's withdrawal with colleagues.[85] Red Bull Racing's junior team Toro Rosso offered him a seat, which he turned down because they would not provide him with a podium-winning car and they wanted sponsorship funding.[87]

Brawn GP (2009)

Ross Brawn, the former team principal of Honda, purchased the team for a nominal fee and renamed it as Brawn GP in early March 2009. Button signed a contract to drive for the team in 2009, and took a pay cut as part of the agreement. Although he was installed by bookmakers as a 100–1 outsider for the championship, Button's Brawn BGP 001 car was quick and reliable in pre-season testing in Europe due to an efficient aerodynamic package, a powerful Mercedes-Benz V8 engine and grippy slick tyres. The car's seat was lowered to make him comfortable.[88] Button won six of the first seven races with four pole positions,[89] having benefited from a double diffuser design that gave him and the Toyota and Williams teams a pace advantage over others.[90][91] He matched the achievement set by former world champions Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher.[92] Once the major teams had introduced their own reconfigured diffusers Button's dominance ended, averaging sixth position in the following ten races and scoring 35 points after accumulating 61 in the first seven.[89] This was due to the team spending 10 per cent of its allocated £7 million budget on developing the car and Button's smooth driving style preventing from generating heat into its tyres in cold weather.[93]

The Brawn BGP 001 car that Button drove to win the 2009 championship
The Brawn BGP 001 car that Button drove to win the 2009 championship

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Button was hampered in qualifying by a poor choice of tyres in the wet weather and could achieve only fourteenth position. His championship campaign was boosted by Vettel qualifying sixteenth, but team-mate and closest rival Barrichello qualified on pole. In the race, Button finished fifth, taking enough points to secure the championship with one round to spare.[91] At the final race of the season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Button qualified behind Barrichello again, but was able to achieve a podium by coming third.[94] With 169 starts, Button made the second-highest number of race starts before becoming World Champion. Only Nigel Mansell (with 176 starts) had competed in more races than Button before winning the World Championship.[95]

In the off-season, Brawn and team principal Nick Fry met Button and his management team to discuss his future. They informed Button that they wanted him to sign an extension to his contract and be paired with Nico Rosberg. Button asked for a commitment to car development for the next season and a close to a repeat performance of the 2009 championship. Brawn and Fry then said Mercedes would buy-out Brawn GP without locating potential sponsors. He found the prospect unappealing and told his manager Richard Goodard that he desired a new challenge.[96]

McLaren (2010–2017)

2010–2012

Button's first race for McLaren was the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Button's first race for McLaren was the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Goodard telephoned McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh to enquire about a drive for Button.[c] Whitmarsh did not believe Button would leave Brawn GP since they had won the Championship to which Goodard mentioned McLaren's competitiveness at the conclusion of the 2009 season and partnering 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton appealed to Button. Discussions took place at the team's headquarters in Woking and a three-year deal was signed soon after.[97][98] Button said he moved because he wanted the motivation and challenge from competing alongside Hamilton,[99] but Whitmarsh cautioned the two before the start of the season he would observe any relationship problems between them.[100]

Button took his first victory with McLaren at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.
Button took his first victory with McLaren at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.

Button won in Australian Grand Prix and Chinese Grand Prixs in variable weather to take the lead of the Drivers' Championship.[24] He later finished second in Turkey after a miscommunication with his team caused him to battle Hamilton for the victory. This cooled his relationship with Hamilton since he believed McLaren had favoured Button over him. He followed up this result with two podium finishes and a trio of points scoring finishes to remain in contention for the championship.[101] Button retired at the Belgian Grand Prix after Vettel hit him and punctured the radiator of his car. Second at Monza was followed by a fourth place in both Singapore and Japan.[102] During the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Button and his entourage were threatened by a number of criminals in the favelas on his way back from qualifying at Interlagos; nobody was harmed during the incident.[103] Button was mathematically eliminated from retaining the title with a fifth place in the race and took fifth in the championship with third in Abu Dhabi.[102][24]

Button celebrating his win of the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
Button celebrating his win of the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix

The MP4-26 driven by Button in 2011 was built around his taller frame from his intra-team input in late 2010.[98][104] He believed the introduction of Pirelli tyres that season would suit his smooth driving style and said a world championship victory would make it difficult for him to retire from Formula One.[105] Button began the season by finishing no lower than sixth in the first six races with three podium results.[106] He won the rain-affected Canadian Grand Prix after two collisions that dropped him to the back of the field and overtaking Vettel when the latter ran wide on the slippery track during the final lap.[107] Button then won the Hungarian Grand Prix, which was held in similar weather, and the Japanese Grand Prix, but his results over the course of the season meant he was mathematically unable to win the championship when Vettel took the title in Japan. Button took 3 victories and 12 podium finishes for second in the Drivers' Championship with 270 points.[24][108] He qualified better than his teammate Hamilton six times during the season and occasionally compromised his starting position to improve his chances for a race.[104]

Button practicing for the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix
Button practicing for the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix

Whitmarsh wanted Button to remain at McLaren for the next three years while the latter held talked to Ferrari about a race seat in 2013.[109] Before the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix, he signed a three-year extension to his contract with McLaren.[d][108] Button was satisfied with the new MP4-27 car due to McLaren finding a loophole to a regulation banning the blowing of exhaust gases over parts of the vehicle to improve downforce. A victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and two second-place finishes at the Chinese Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix were the highlights of his first half of the season.[110] His overall performance in the first seven races had dropped because he had difficulty in generating temperature and the correct amount of grip into the new short-life front tyres introduced by Pirelli due to his smooth driving style and him switching brake materials multiple times to try and fix the issue made it worse.[111][112] Button changed the set-up of his car and adapted himself to the tyres and retain temperature in them to better his performance.[113] The rest of Button's season saw him win in Belgium and Brazil and take top-five finishes in five of the next seven rounds for fifth in the Drivers' Championship with 188 points.[114]

2013–2015

Button driving at the 2013 Italian Grand Prix
Button driving at the 2013 Italian Grand Prix

Button was joined at McLaren by Ferrari Driver Academy graduate Sergio Pérez for 2013 and their relationship was cooler because the latter entered the team hastily.[115] He was appointed a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) in March 2013.[6] McLaren developed the MP4-28 car not in advance of regulation changes for the 2014 championship, but rather constructed it from scratch.[115] This caused Button to drive an unstable car with understeer, a lack of downforce and severe tyre degradation.[116] After finishing ninth at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, McLaren introduced components from the MP4-27 onto the MP4-28. This did not have a significant effect and Button continued to attain sub-par results over the course of the season with a best of fourth at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.[e] He finished the season ninth in the Drivers' Championship with 73 points. Button was involved in aggressive driving from his teammate Pérez early in the season in Bahrain and Monaco, annoying him.[115]

Button competing at the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix
Button competing at the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix

He activated the terms of his contract to stay with McLaren for 2014 in September 2013,[117] but considered taking a sabbatical from Formula One following the unexpected death of his father in Monaco in January 2014.[118] Button was joined by Kevin Magnussen, which whom he was able to build a rapport, and the MP4-29 car he drove had an understeer from a lack of front downforce and an unstable rear.[119] He finished third at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified for an fuel flow consumption infringement and his team lost an subsequent appeal against the decision.[120] Button was unable to finish on the podium thereafter with a best finish of fourth in four more races and scored points seven more times. He was eighth in the Drivers' Championship with 126 points.[121] Button qualified better than Magnussen ten times and scored twice as many points as his teammate.[122]

Button driving at the 2015 British Grand Prix
Button driving at the 2015 British Grand Prix

Button became unenthusiastic over Formula One and the press speculated on his future in the sport with rumors Fernando Alonso would be Magnussen's teammate in 2015. He wanted to remain at McLaren but was made insecure about his career and told himself to concentrate on the present and not be concerned over the future.[f][119] Dennis did not want Button to drive for McLaren but fellow team shareholder Mansour Ojjeh told him Button should remain over Magnussen after reviewing the situation.[124] Negotiations between Button and McLaren racing director Éric Boullier and team owner Ron Dennis concluded with an agreement for Button to continue racing on 10 December.[122] Button agreed to take a pay cut,[125] with his contract containing the option for a second year; McLaren or Button were able to activate clauses to break the contract after the season if one of the parties desired it.[g][126] Button struggled over the course of the season due to an unreliable and an underpowered Honda engine lacking straightline speed,[24] securing four top-ten finishes and a best result of sixth at the United States Grand Prix. He was rarely able to progress past the first qualifying session and was 16th in the Drivers' Championship with 16 points.[119]

2016–2017

Button competing in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix
Button competing in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

He was retained by the McLaren team for 2016 following contractual discussions with Dennis and met with engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre. Button received a 50 per cent pay rise in line for staying with the team for another year.[127] He had considered returning to the Williams team before deciding against doing so.[128] The new Honda engine in his car ran was more powerful and allowed Button to challenge for points-scoring finishes but reliability continued to hinder him and McLaren.[14] He finished 15 of the 21 races contested during the season,[129] and qualified a season-high third at the Austrian Grand Prix to give the highest starting position in the partnership between McLaren and Honda and went on to finish the race a season-high sixth.[130] He was unable to finish higher than ninth over the course of the season and ended his full-time career with a suspension failure at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Button finished the year 15th in the Drivers' Championship with 21 points scored finishing better than Alonso five times and qualifying higher than him on four occasions.[129]

Before the Belgian Grand Prix, he told Dennis that he planned to retire after the season.[131] Dennis asked Button to wait before returning to discuss the situation to which he said he had already made the decision.[132] Button was suggested by Dennis for a sabbatical and mull over the decision to retire while resting and also made Button an ambassador for McLaren.[131] This meant he would undertake work in the team's simulator at McLaren Technology Centre, represent them at sponsor functions and attempt to help them in car development.[132] Button was retained by McLaren as reserve driver with the option to return to full-time racing for the team in 2018 if he and McLaren agreed to it.[133] He was replaced as a GPDA director by Romain Grosjean.[134] In April 2017, Boullier asked Button to drive in lieu of the Indianapolis 500-bound Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix and agreed after Goodard told him there was no way to get out of the commitment because he was contractually bound to drive.[135] He prepared by driving in the team's simulator instead of testing in Bahrain because he would learn nothing by not driving on a narrow street circuit.[136] He retired late in the race following a collision with Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein that damaged his car.[137]

In November 2017, Button was replaced as McLaren reserve driver by 2017 FIA Formula Three European champion Lando Norris for 2018.[138] His contract with McLaren expired without renewal at the end of the year to allow him to focus on other racing ventures. Button's association with McLaren ended with the second-highest number of entries (136) for the team after compatriot David Coulthard.[139]

Super GT and DTM career

The Honda NSX-GT that Button and Naoki Yamamoto drove to win the 2018 Super GT title.
The Honda NSX-GT that Button and Naoki Yamamoto drove to win the 2018 Super GT title.

Button became interested in racing in the Super GT Series in late 2016 and discussions with Honda led to him making his series debut at the 2017 Suzuka 1000km in a NSX-GT for Team Mugen with teammates Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima.[140] The trio finished 12th after incurring two penalties and two tyre punctures.[141] He also considered racing as a third driver for Acura Team Penske's IMSA SportsCar Championship team, but was rejected.[142] Button drove the full 2018 Super GT Series for Team Kunimitsu in the No. 100 GT500-class Honda NSX-GT alongside Naoki Yamamoto.[143] Button's team helped to communicate better and adapt to the series and its culture.[144] He and Yamamoto won at Sportsland Sugo and took two second-place finishes to enter the season-ending race at Twin Ring Motegi equal on points with the TOM'S duo of Ryō Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy.[145] He held off Hirakawa to win the GT500 championship by three points and was the first rookie title winner since Toranosuke Takagi in 2005.[146]

For the 2019 season, Button remained at Team Kunimitsu alongside Yamamoto in the renumbered No. 1 Honda.[147] In an incident-filled season, Button and Yamamoto were taken out of the lead in the opening round at Okayama,[148] and then a mistimed safety car at the second Fuji race and a poor tyre choice in the rain at Sugo cost the team possible wins.[149] The pair ultimately scored two podiums at the two Fuji rounds as well as a sixth place in Button's final Super GT race in Motegi to finish eighth in the GT500 Drivers' Championship with 37 points.[150] In October 2019, he drove the final two races of the season-ending Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) round at the Hockenheimring in his Team Kunimitsu NSX car as Honda's wild card entry.[151] He finished ninth in the first race and 16th in the second.[152] Button did not enter the "Super GT × DTM Dream Race" at Fuji Speedway because his contract did not oblige him to do so,[153] and left Super GT at the end of 2019 because he did not want to fly frequently from the United States to Japan and wanted to explore other racing series.[154]

Endurance racing career

Button made his endurance racing debut at the 1999 24 Hours of Spa with BMW Team Raffanelli. Sharing a BMW 320i E46 with David Saelens and Tomáš Enge in the SP class, the trio retired after 22 laps with a fuel tank failure.[155][156] He began discussions with SMP Racing to drive a BR Engineering BR1 car in the Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) class alongside Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin in April 2018.[157] Button and SMP Racing concluded with an agreement for him to drive most of the 2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship.[h][158] Making his FIA World Endurance Championship debut at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, electronic problems dropped the car down the order before the team retired with an engine failure late in the race with Button driving at the time.[159] He finished fourth at the 6 Hours of Fuji and was third at the following 6 Hours of Shanghai.[143] Button missed the 1000 Miles of Sebring and 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps because of Super GT commitments,[160] and the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans because his fiancée was due to give birth to their first child intermittently.[i][161]

Other racing ventures

Button was invited to the Race of Champions six times: in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017, reaching the semi-finals of the Nations Cup with Andy Priaulx for Team Autosport in 2007 and 2008 and finishing second in 2009. His best performances in the Race of Champions were the semi-finals in 2009 and the quarter-finals in 2017.[162] In 2019, Button drove off-road races in a Rocket Motorsports-entered Brenthel Industries Spec 6100 TT class truck with 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Chris Buncombe and managing director Mazen Fawaz his co-drivers.[163] This came about when Button told Buncombe the pair would race the Baja 1000 as a 40th birthday present for the latter and searched for a track and components for it.[164] Navigated by Terry Madden, he finished no higher than the top 20 in the Mint 400 with retirements in the Vegas to Reno and the Baja 1000 races.[165] In 2020, while motor racing was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Button took part in eSports racing events.[166]

Driving style

Button driving a McLaren MP4-23 car through the streets of Manchester in August 2011.
Button driving a McLaren MP4-23 car through the streets of Manchester in August 2011.

Button has a smooth driving style;[89] journalist Mark Hughes wrote in 2009, "Button has a fantastic feel for how much momentum can be taken into a corner and this allows him to be minimal in his inputs—his steering and throttle movements in particular tend to be graceful and beautifully co-ordinated."[167] This allows him to perform well in wet-weather where the front of the car tends to slide more than the rear,[61] and many believe using his smooth style he can conserve his tyres better during race conditions than other drivers.[168] He adapted his style in his go-karting career and transferred it to more powerful machinery.[169] Button brakes with his left foot, which he has done since 2000,[38] in a manner that drags the brake pedal and stops the car in a shorter amount of time in order to control and modulate power.[170][171] He likes to turn into a corner early while braking and balance the car on pedal application and steering.[172] This creates more strain in the tyre loads for a longer physical lap but allows for a higher minimum speed entering a corner and allowing Button to adapt to a changeable or slippery track.[170]

He is comfortable driving a car with understeer,[169] prefers its rear to be stable into corners and on which he is able to lean on leaving them,[173] and rarely locks the inside of his front tyres.[170] His smooth driving also means he cannot generate the required amount of temperature into his tyres on a cool track or it was undemanding on him.[167] Button occasionally cannot get his tyres to operate efficiently over a single lap in qualifying because of his gentle steering producing less energy into the wheel.[61][169] His driving gave him additional thought time and be less prone to making an error to improve consistency in races and notices events without the team necessarily instructing him on what to do.[61] Button accurately exploits grip on a damp track's corners to adapt to his limits earlier than other drivers. During 2001 and 2007, when traction control was legal in Formula One, he was able to control the throttle pedal to prevent wheelspin, allowing him to be as fast due to his feel for grip exiting a turn.[172]

Driver number

For the 2014 season, the FIA created a new sporting regulation to allow a driver to select a unique car number for use throughout his Formula One career. Button chose the number 22, which was the one he was assigned when he won the 2009 Formula One World Championship.[174]

Endorsements and philanthropy

The BBC signed Button to promote its BBCi digital television interactive service from December 2003 to January 2004.[175] He is a brand ambassador for Head & Shoulders, and appeared in advertising campaigns for the company.[176] Other companies that Button has done business are Hilton, Hugo Boss, Santander Bank, Tag Heuer, Vodafone.[176] and Baylis & Harding.[177] As a result of Button's endorsement money and Mercedes salary, he was listed as one of the world's top-earning drivers in motorsports by Forbes between June 2012 and June 2013.[178]

Button is also involved in charitable work through the creation of The Jenson Button Trust. Established in March 2010, the Trust provides donations to a number of charitable causes. Each year the Trust will select and nominate charitable beneficiaries to which the funds will be distributed.[179] He is a patron of Make-A-Wish Foundation UK to grant the wishes of terminally ill children and young persons,[180] a sport ambassador for both The Prince's Trust and the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation,[181][182] and supports the Sean Edwards Foundation.[183]

Button ran a restaurant, Victus, in Harrogate from 2011 to 2012.[6] In 2012, he, Goodard and public relations officer James Williamson founded the sports agency The Sports Partnership to provide public relations services and management for the sporting industry.[184] Button, Buncombe and team principal Bob Neville founded the sports car racing team Jenson Team Rocket RJN in late 2018, which competes in the GT World Challenge Europe.[185] He was on the judging panel of the 2003 UK F1 Drivers' Challenge which was broadcast on the Five television programme Be A Grand Prix Driver,[186] voiced his own character in the animated cartoon series Tooned,[110] and since the 2018 British Grand Prix, has analysed select races for Sky Sports F1.[187]

Public image

Button has received a varying amount of press coverage from minor to extensive on his Formula One career and personal life;[38][188][189] this effect has been labelled "Buttonmania".[190] Ben Anderson of Autosport notes that the driver "is rarely picked as one of grand prix racing’s true elite drivers" and is not "discussed in the same breath as those, such as Schumacher and Ayrton Senna" due to "a lack of absolute dynamism behind the wheel in difficult technical circumstances – perhaps holds him back from being regarded as among the true elite."[61] Writing for The New York Times, Brad Spurgeon said that Button's debut in Formula One began a trend of teams signing young drivers and how they would cope with pressure, performance and the media in the championship.[191] BBC Sport's Andrew Benson called him "urbane and eloquent. Good-looking and charismatic, he is a marketing person's dream, and has a ready wit that can edge into sarcasm if he is impatient or uncomfortable with a situation."[173]

Button finished second to footballer Ryan Giggs in voting for the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.[192] He also won the BBC West Country's Sports Personality of the Year and the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award.[193] He won the 2000 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Newcomer Award for finishing eighth in that year's Formula One season,[194] the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy in 2001,[195] and the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy as the most successful British or Commonwealth driver in a season five times: from 2004 to 2006, 2009 and 2011.[196] Button was voted the Autosport Rookie of the Year in 2000,[31] the International Racing Driver Award in 2004 and 2009,[197] and the British Competition Driver of the Year in 2003, 2009, 2011 and 2012.[198] He won the BRDC Gold Star in 2004 and 2009,[199][200] and was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame in 2017.[201]

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to motorsport.[202] Button's home town, Frome, has named a street and a footbridge carrying the River Frome after him,[203] and has awarded him the freedom of the town.[5] Button received an honorary doctorate in engineering from the University of Bath in December 2016.[204] He has authored five books about his life and career.[j]

Personal life

His hobbies include mountain biking, competing in triathlons and body boarding, and maintains a car collection.[194] He was engaged to the actress and singer Louise Griffiths before ending their five-year relationship in 2005. Button was married to his long-time girlfriend and model Jessica Michibata from 2014 to 2015.[210] He is engaged to model Brittny Ward, with whom he has a son, and reside in Los Angeles.[209]

Button has at least three tattoos: a black coat button on his right forearm; a large tribal design encompassing his left shoulder and upper chest; and Japanese kanji-characters on his ankle which says "一番" (Ichi ban, "Number One" in Japanese); this was done before he won the world title, and is the name of Button's triathlon team. Since mid-2010, the same legend has appeared on Button's race helmet.[211]

On 3 August 2015, Button and his then wife Jessica were burgled at a rented Saint-Tropez home while staying with friends when robbers looted the house and stole belongings worth £300,000, including his wife's £250,000 engagement ring. Reports suggested that the couple might have been gassed through the air conditioning system prior to the burglars' entry into the building.[212]

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
1998 British Formula Ford Championship Haywood Racing 15 7 9 7 12 133 1st
Formula Ford Festival 1 1 0 0 1 N/A 1st
1999 British Formula 3 Championship Promatecme UK 16 3 3 4 7 168 3rd
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 0 0 1 N/A 2nd
Masters of Formula 3 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 5th
Korea Super Prix 1 0 0 0 1 N/A 2nd
Spa 24 Hours BMW FINA Team Rafanelli 1 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2000 Formula One BMW WilliamsF1 Team 17 0 0 0 0 12 8th
2001 Formula One Mild Seven Benetton Renault 17 0 0 0 0 2 17th
2002 Formula One Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 17 0 0 0 0 14 7th
2003 Formula One Lucky Strike BAR Honda 15 0 0 0 0 17 9th
2004 Formula One Lucky Strike BAR Honda 18 0 1 0 10 85 3rd
2005 Formula One Lucky Strike BAR Honda 16 0 1 0 2 37 9th
2006 Formula One Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team 18 1 1 0 3 56 6th
2007 Formula One Honda Racing F1 Team 17 0 0 0 0 6 15th
2008 Formula One Honda Racing F1 Team 18 0 0 0 0 3 18th
2009 Formula One Brawn GP F1 Team 17 6 4 2 9 95 1st
2010 Formula One Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 19 2 0 1 7 214 5th
2011 Formula One Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 19 3 0 3 12 270 2nd
2012 Formula One Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 20 3 1 2 6 188 5th
2013 Formula One Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 19 0 0 0 0 73 9th
2014 Formula One McLaren Mercedes 19 0 0 0 1 126 8th
2015 Formula One McLaren Honda 19 0 0 0 0 16 16th
2016 Formula One McLaren Honda 21 0 0 0 0 21 15th
2017 Formula One McLaren Honda 1 0 0 0 0 0 NC
Super GT Team Mugen 1 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2018 Super GT Team Kunimitsu 8 1 1 0 4 78 1st
24 Hours of Le Mans SMP Racing 1 0 0 0 0 N/A DNF
2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship SMP Racing 4 0 0 0 1 27 15th
2019 Super GT Team Kunimitsu 8 0 0 0 2 37 8th
Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters 2 0 0 0 0 0 NC†
Source:[27]

As Button was a guest driver, he was ineligible to score championship points.

Complete Spa 24 Hours results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1999 Belgium BMW FINA Team Rafanelli Belgium David Saelens
Czech Republic Tomáš Enge
BMW 320i E46
BMW / Rafanelli
SP 22 DNF DNF
Source:[143]

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number denotes the finishing position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 WDC Points
2000 BMW Williams F1 Team Williams FW22 BMW E41 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
6
SMR
Ret
GBR
5
ESP
17
EUR
10
MON
Ret
CAN
11
FRA
8
AUT
5
GER
4
HUN
9
BEL
5
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
JPN
5
MAL
Ret
8th 12
2001 Mild Seven Benetton Renault Benetton B201 Renault RS21 3.0 V10 AUS
14
MAL
11
BRA
10
SMR
12
ESP
15
AUT
Ret
MON
7
CAN
Ret
EUR
13
FRA
16
GBR
15
GER
5
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
9
JPN
7
17th 2
2002 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R202 Renault RS22 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
MAL
4
BRA
4
SMR
5
ESP
12
AUT
7
MON
Ret
CAN
15
EUR
5
GBR
12
FRA
6
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
5
USA
8
JPN
6
7th 14
2003 Lucky Strike BAR Honda BAR 005 Honda RA003E 3.0 V10 AUS
10
MAL
7
BRA
Ret
SMR
8
ESP
9
AUT
4
MON
DNS
CAN
Ret
EUR
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
8
GER
8
HUN
10
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
JPN
4
9th 17
2004 Lucky Strike BAR Honda BAR 006 Honda RA004E 3.0 V10 AUS
6
MAL
3
BHR
3
SMR
2
ESP
8
MON
2
EUR
3
CAN
3
USA
Ret
FRA
5
GBR
4
GER
2
HUN
5
BEL
Ret
ITA
3
CHN
2
JPN
3
BRA
Ret
3rd 85
2005 Lucky Strike BAR Honda BAR 007 Honda RA005E 3.0 V10 AUS
11
MAL
Ret
BHR
Ret
SMR
DSQ
ESP MON EUR
10
CAN
Ret
USA
DNS
FRA
4
GBR
5
GER
3
HUN
5
TUR
5
ITA
8
BEL
3
BRA
7
JPN
5
CHN
8
9th 37
2006 Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team Honda RA106 Honda RA806E 2.4 V8 BHR
4
MAL
3
AUS
10
SMR
7
EUR
Ret
ESP
6
MON
11
GBR
Ret
CAN
9
USA
Ret
FRA
Ret
GER
4
HUN
1
TUR
4
ITA
5
CHN
4
JPN
4
BRA
3
6th 56
2007 Honda Racing F1 Team Honda RA107 Honda RA807E 2.4 V8 AUS
15
MAL
12
BHR
Ret
ESP
12
MON
11
CAN
Ret
USA
12
FRA
8
GBR
10
EUR
Ret
HUN
Ret
TUR
13
ITA
8
BEL
Ret
JPN
11
CHN
5
BRA
Ret
15th 6
2008 Honda Racing F1 Team Honda RA108 Honda RA808E 2.4 V8 AUS
Ret
MAL
10
BHR
Ret
ESP
6
TUR
11
MON
11
CAN
11
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
17
HUN
12
EUR
13
BEL
15
ITA
15
SIN
9
JPN
14
CHN
16
BRA
13
18th 3
2009 Brawn GP F1 Team Brawn BGP 001 Mercedes FO 108W 2.4 V8 AUS
1
MAL
1
CHN
3
BHR
1
ESP
1
MON
1
TUR
1
GBR
6
GER
5
HUN
7
EUR
7
BEL
Ret
ITA
2
SIN
5
JPN
8
BRA
5
ABU
3
1st 95
2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-25 Mercedes FO 108X 2.4 V8 BHR
7
AUS
1
MAL
8
CHN
1
ESP
5
MON
Ret
TUR
2
CAN
2
EUR
3
GBR
4
GER
5
HUN
8
BEL
Ret
ITA
2
SIN
4
JPN
4
KOR
12
BRA
5
ABU
3
5th 214
2011 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-26 Mercedes FO 108Y 2.4 V8 AUS
6
MAL
2
CHN
4
TUR
6
ESP
3
MON
3
CAN
1
EUR
6
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
1
BEL
3
ITA
2
SIN
2
JPN
1
KOR
4
IND
2
ABU
3
BRA
3
2nd 270
2012 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-27 Mercedes FO 108Z 2.4 V8 AUS
1
MAL
14
CHN
2
BHR
18
ESP
9
MON
16
CAN
16
EUR
8
GBR
10
GER
2
HUN
6
BEL
1
ITA
Ret
SIN
2
JPN
4
KOR
Ret
IND
5
ABU
4
USA
5
BRA
1
5th 188
2013 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-28 Mercedes FO 108F 2.4 V8 AUS
9
MAL
17
CHN
5
BHR
10
ESP
8
MON
6
CAN
12
GBR
13
GER
6
HUN
7
BEL
6
ITA
10
SIN
7
KOR
8
JPN
9
IND
14
ABU
12
USA
10
BRA
4
9th 73
2014 McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-29 Mercedes PU106A Hybrid 1.6 V6 t AUS
3
MAL
6
BHR
17
CHN
11
ESP
11
MON
6
CAN
4
AUT
11
GBR
4
GER
8
HUN
10
BEL
6
ITA
8
SIN
Ret
JPN
5
RUS
4
USA
12
BRA
4
ABU
5
8th 126
2015 McLaren Honda McLaren MP4-30 Honda RA615H 1.6 V6 t AUS
11
MAL
Ret
CHN
14
BHR
DNS
ESP
16
MON
8
CAN
Ret
AUT
Ret
GBR
Ret
HUN
9
BEL
14
ITA
14
SIN
Ret
JPN
16
RUS
9
USA
6
MEX
14
BRA
14
ABU
12
16th 16
2016 McLaren Honda McLaren MP4-31 Honda RA616H 1.6 V6 t AUS
14
BHR
Ret
CHN
13
RUS
10
ESP
9
MON
9
CAN
Ret
EUR
11
AUT
6
GBR
12
HUN
Ret
GER
8
BEL
Ret
ITA
12
SIN
Ret
MAL
9
JPN
18
USA
9
MEX
12
BRA
16
ABU
Ret
15th 21
2017 McLaren Honda McLaren MCL32 Honda RA617H 1.6 V6 t AUS CHN BHR RUS ESP MON
Ret
CAN AZE AUT GBR HUN BEL ITA SIN MAL JPN USA MEX BRA ABU NC 0
Source:[39]

Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance was completed.
Button did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as he completed over 90% of the race distance.

Complete Super GT results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number denotes the finishing position)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 DC Points Ref
2017 Team Mugen Honda NSX-GT GT500 OKA FUJ AUT SUG FUJ SUZ
12
CHA MOT NC 0 [143]
2018 Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX-GT GT500 OKA
2
FUJ
9
SUZ
2
CHA
11
FUJ
5
SUG
1
AUT
5
MOT
3
1st 78 [213]
2019 Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX-GT GT500 OKA
15
FUJ
3
SUZ
13
CHA
12
FUJ
2
AUT
Ret
SUG
8
MOT
6
8th 37 [214]

24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2018 Russia SMP Racing Russia Mikhail Aleshin
Russia Vitaly Petrov
BR Engineering BR1-AER LMP1 315 DNF DNF
Source:[143]

Complete FIA World Endurance Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number denotes the finishing position)

Year Entrant Class Car Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rank Points Ref
2018–19 SMP Racing LMP1 BR Engineering BR1 AER P60B 2.4 L Turbo V6 SPA LMS
Ret
SIL
Ret
FUJ
4
SHA
3
SEB SPA LMS 15th 27 [213]

Bibliography

  • Button, Jenson (2010). A Championship Year (UK ed.). London, England: Orion Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4091-1827-5.
  • Jones, Bruce (2010). "Part 1: The Story of Formula One: The 2000s". The Complete Encyclopedia of Formula One (12th ed.). London, England: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84732-304-0.
  • Jones, Bruce (2011). "Review of the 2010 Season". Grand Prix 2011: The Official ITV Sport Guide. London, England: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84442-088-9.
  • May, Reg (November 2013). Racing With Heroes. Dorchester, England: Veloce Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84584-654-1.
  • Button, Jenson (2017). Life To The Limit. London, England: Blink Publishing. ISBN 978-1-911600-34-3.
  • Button, Jenson (2019). How To Be An F1 Driver: My Guide To Life In The Fast Lane. London, England: Blink Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78870-261-4.
  • Hamilton, Maurice (2020). Formula One: The Champions: 70 years of legendary F1 drivers. London, England: White Lion Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78131-946-8.

Notes

  1. ^ Other contenders for the seat included sports car driver Jörg Müller and Japanese Formula Three champion Darren Manning.[31]
  2. ^ The majority of engineers preferred Junqueira but Williams believed Button had more potential to do well.[31]
  3. ^ Whitmarsh noted discord between Button and Brawn from disputes over payment of bonuses from the driver's championship win and spoke to Button about his status after the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix.[6]
  4. ^ Although the press reported that the contract extension would earn Button £85 million, he states in his autobiography Life to the Limit that this was not the case.[108]
  5. ^ Button broke his knuckle at a party before the Japanese Grand Prix attended by figures from the motor racing community. He drove the race in a strap, leaving the services of simulator driver Oliver Turvey and Kevin Magnussen unneeded.[115]
  6. ^ Button's manager Richard Goodard received calls from several teams inquiring about Button.[123]
  7. ^ An option for a long-term contract was more complicated for Button because of the team's results from the 2014 season led to debate on each driver's strengths and weaknesses.[122]
  8. ^ Button missed the season-opening 2018 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps because of an Super GT commitment.[158]
  9. ^ Brendon Hartley and later Stoffel Vandoorne drove in Button's place for the rest of the season.[161]
  10. ^ These include:
    • My Life on The Formula One Rollercoster (ghostwritten by the journalist David Tremayne in 2002)[205]
    • My World (2007)[206]
    • My Championship Year (2009)[207]
    • Life to The Limit (2017)[208]
    • How to be an F1 Driver (2019)[209]

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External links

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