McLaren has confirmed that Jenson Button will indeed stay with the team in 2016.
Button always had a two-year deal but McLaren could have terminated it by September 30, and indeed the 2009 World Champion could have retired and walked away.
The contract included a substantial pay rise for 2016, but Ron Dennis had been attempting to get Jenson to stay on for the same money that he got this year, under a renegotiated deal. It now appears that Button has won this battle of wills, and will get his money after all, as Dennis says that the original terms and conditions have been met.
“Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks,” said Dennis in a statement. “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.
“As I have made clear whenever I have been asked about the subject, Jenson’s current contract is of two years’; duration [2015 and 2016]. 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. That being the case, Jenson will race for McLaren-Honda next year, under the terms and conditions as set out in the two-year contract that both parties entered into a year ago.”
Button himself added: “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.
“But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now [2010-2015], 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.
“That gives me great confidence, and it is for that reason that, together, he and I have decided to continue our partnership; and, as soon as I had made that decision, straight away I realised it was the correct one.”