Formula One: Button staying on at McLaren

Formula One: Button staying on at McLaren
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - Former world champion Jenson Button is to stay on at McLaren for next season, ending speculation that he was about to retire from Formula One racing.

"McLaren-Honda is happy to confirm that Jenson Button will race for the team in 2016," team chief Ron Dennis announced.

"Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks, and the fact that our talks have led to today's announcement is very pleasing to both of us and will delight and motivate all at McLaren-Honda."

The 35-year-old British driver's Formula One future was the subject of intense scrutiny at last week's Japanese Grand Prix after suggesting he had fallen out of love with the sport.

Button has scored only six points from 13 races.

But those concerns appear to have been settled in the last few days with Dennis saying that he found Button "as enthusiastic and as committed and as focused as ever."

"I am extremely pleased. Jenson is the most experienced driver currently racing in Formula 1, and next season he is due to become only the third driver [after Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher] in Formula 1 history to pass the milestone of 300 Grands Prix," Dennis said.

Button, world champion in 2009, admitted that he had been seriously mulling his future in the sport before deciding to stay on with the British team for another year.

"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.

"But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now and in that time I have got to know Ron very well. He 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."

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