Jenson Button signs McLaren contract extension

2012 F1 season

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Button will remain with McLaren beyond 2012

McLaren have confirmed Jenson Button will remain with them beyond 2011.

The team announced today Button has signed a new multi-year contract.

Button said:”I’ve never felt more at home at a team than I do at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

“‘I’ve won four of the greatest races of my life here, I’m currently lying second in the drivers’ world championship, and I feel that I’m driving better than ever.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said:”Jenson is a great driver and a great guy.”

“In fact, I can safely say that he’s one of the most capable and respected drivers we’ve ever had, and I’m therefore absolutely delighted that he’ll continue to work with us into the future.

“He’s a considerable credit to this organisation, and I’m proud to be his team principal.

“I feel sure that he’ll now build on the considerable success he’s already achieved with us, and will be even more successful with us in years to come.”

Lewis Hamilton added his endorsement, saying:”It’s great news that Jenson has chosen to stay with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

“Jenson has been a great person to work with, and a genuine team player, from the moment we welcomed him on board.”

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Image © McLaren

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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106 comments on “Jenson Button signs McLaren contract extension”

  1. Possible get out clause if Ferrari come knocking?

    1. knocking where? To lure away people so they can build a winning car again :-P

      I do not think Button is really looking at being Alonso’s secondant there, even if he had not just signed with McLaren for several years.

    2. What would Button have to gain from moving to Ferrari having just signed a multi-year deal with a team that he himself says he feels more at home at than any other team?

      Silly comment.

      1. Not a silly comment, Button is reported to have said he wanted to drive for Ferrari at some point before the end of his career, but it might of been taken out of context (I suspect he meant he would of like to drive for all the historical top teams, William, Mclaren, Ferrari)

      2. He did say in the past that he always wanted to drive for Williams, McLaren and Ferrari. But a Ferrari with Alonso isn’t a nice place to be, and like you said, for now he’s at home.

    3. If he wanted to move to Ferrari, he wouldn’t have signed this. And McLaren wouldn’t allow such a clause either.

    4. Why? At McLaren he is at least equal with his teammate, If Lewis doesn’t sort his problems, soon a number one. With potential of the team practically equal to Ferrari and Mr. Fernando “It’s my team” Alonso at Maranello he has absolutely nothing to gain.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        5th October 2011, 16:03

        great for Jenson to succeed this year over Lewis “It’s my team” Hamilton

    5. No, this is the end of the Ferrari rumours.

  2. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that Button would want to play second fiddle in Team Alonso.

    1. Although it is extremely unlikely and I personally would not want that either, never rule out anything in F1. ;)

    2. well, was it not team Hamilton when Button moved to McLaren??

  3. McLaren using the unhelpfully vague term “multi-year contract”. Presumably then this is for at least 2012 and 2013. But is it for any longer?

    Remember Vettel’s got a deal a place until 2014 and Alonso has one until 2016.

    1. yes, what are they hiding?

      Maybe a 2 year deal with an option to go for 4 years if all are satisfied in 2013?

      1. That and maybe Jenson could leave if he wanted after 2013. An open-ended option.
        Also, talking about F1 contracts beyond a period of 2 years does not make much sense anyway.

        1. It’s probably 3 or 4 years but if the new regs Mclaren in 2013 is crap then he can jump ship.

      2. 2 year deal will be good for him.

    2. Hopefully someone will get the exact timescale (or at least a slightly less vague one!!) out of Martin or Jenson at the weekend.

    3. If it is a two year contract, Button will be 33 or so, at an age where he has to compete with “young guns” for competitive race seats.

      There’s also the new turbo engine formula to consider, where an experienced hand might come in useful.

      1. If he continues the way he’s doing right now, even at 33, I don’t think he’d have to compete with anyone for a seat. He’d be a highly desirable driver then too.

    4. Could even be just one year + option for another.

      That’s most likely one more seat gone for 2013, so next year’s silly season might be as quiet as this one.

      1. Agree, it could be anything.

        One year + option / + road car position

    5. Why can’t they say for how many years? McLaren are so weird, that’s why i find it hard to cheer for them. They aren’t sincere. Always with something to hide. Ferrari didn’t have any problem to say it was a 5 years contract for Alonso.

    6. UKfanatic (@)
      5th October 2011, 15:50

      I would say 2 years with 2 option I think Button himself is not certain how long he wants to stay in F1 he has expressed some thoughts about family so I thnk its more about that

    7. This is exactly what i have been wondering if it’s all cut and shut why havn’t they said the length of the contract?

  4. Inevitable, sensible and welcome news.

  5. Great news and it was all but obvious. Jenson has done a stellar job and deserves all the accolades he’s been garnering of late and McLaren have been the only team to give Red Bull some real challenge this year. It only makes sense for the two to continue.

    On a side note, does Lewis have to say “Vodafone McLaren Mercedes” EVERY single time, like a PR robot? It’s so annoying! Like someone hard-wired it into his head..

    1. Jenson said it too. The sponsors won’t like it if they don’t, and it’s them who pay the wages! #SadButTrue

      1. Lewis does it every time, not even Martin does it that often. I perfectly understand the sponsors’ angle but talk about Lewis over-doing it. :p

        1. they could be getting a payment every time they say it. thats what i would do is i was a sponsor.

        2. Maybe he has a bet with his girlfriend on how often he can say it during an interview and they laugh about it together as a way to make these things bearable.

          I would try to find a manner to make it fun in that way, or it would quickly become unbearable to have to keep it up.

    2. Everyone at McLaren seems to do it. Which is fine, after all they are paid to. It’s when their fans start doing it that it seems rather sad.

      1. Glad I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by it.. Imagine if everyone at Ferrari started saying “Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro” all the time!

        1. Ah but they’re not Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro any more:

          Ferrari drops ‘Marlboro’ from official team name

          1. Ah.. you got me!
            Imagine if they did when they were that.

            This is getting silly now.. :p

          2. They do say Scuderia Ferrari though. Same as the Renault buys call them Lotus-Renault GP

          3. They do say Scuderia Ferrari though. Same as the Renault boys call them Lotus-Renault GP

          4. Not quite the same, Scuderia means stable (or team). They’re basically saying Team Ferrari, just like McLaren call themeselves Team McLaren when they have no title sponsor.

          5. The Scuderia Ferrari is more like saying “team McLaren” though, isn’t it? They don’t say, team Scuderia Ferrari, I don’t think.

            Since Ferrari without the team could easily refer to the (road) car-or manufacturer part of the company, that seems to make sense.

            But I always thought it grew from just Italian people getting used to their team, ie. Ferrari. And then it got incorporated in the team name.

      2. Well, it’s not like Jenson, Lewis, and Martin wrote these PR statements anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

      3. On a side note, does Lewis have to say “Vodafone McLaren Mercedes” EVERY single time, like a PR robot?

        Everyone at McLaren seems to do it.

        I suspect they lost a bet.

      4. Doesn’t take long, sadly, for fans, commentators and other people who should know better to start regurgitating corporate names like “Lotus Renault GP”, “BMW Williams” or whatever.

        As for the JB announcement, biggest no-brainer ever for me – he’s been outstanding in the race for 2nd place this year!

        I wonder if it’s a long term deal that includes promoting McLaren road cars, technologies and services. That’d be more fitting than the ads for bank accounts and loans…

        1. And shampoo. Don’t forget the shampoo ;-)

        2. BMW Williams made infinitely more sense than Lotus Renault GP does. And fans like to keep things simple, which is why I reckon Lotus Renault GP will never take off unless Lotus have real input and/or Team Lotus Change their name- otherwise they’ll remain Renault.

      5. that’s nothing. if you can stomach it, watch some nascar. a non-stop litany of brand names and product placement, in addition to the signage.

        while i’m on it, what is the deal with brundle/legard and brundle/coulthard and the damn team names?

        “the mclaren mercedes coming up on the mercedes mercedes…”

        “sauber ferrari and ferrari ferrari”

        “ferrari all the way through…”

        aaarrgggg make it stop!

    3. Button says: “I’ve never felt more at home at a team than I do at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes”

      Whitmarsh says: “Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has the very best driver line-up in all of Formula 1”

      … but you instead you choose to use this announcement as an opportunity to single out Hamilton.

      Give it a break. Vodafone have supplied hundreds of millions of dollars to McLaren to allow them to build and race cars, the team name is Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
      None of this is particularly complicated.

      1. Hey, calm down! I’m not “singling out” Lewis. Please do not get any ideas that I’m anti-Hamilton. Anyone who knows me here, knows I’m not. I’m a great admirer of his, only that I’ve noticed he says that PR line far too often, all the time, everywhere, which is a bit annoying. That’s all.

        1. No, you did single him out, we can tell, because in your comment, you singled him out.

          It is a part of his job description to say Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, exactly the same for all the drivers and team management.

          Sponsor supplies truck load of money for above title billing, as an employee you do what is required, like I said, not complicated.

          1. And he’s retracted it now so get off his back.

          2. No he hasn’t.
            Where does he retract it?

            In fact he just double-downed and repeated it. The exact opposite of retraction.

            He said something a bit dopey, and as is right and proper, got immediately called out on it by everyone in this thread.
            So maybe you could do me a favour and get of my back.

          3. I regret saying anything to you now. I thought his reply was a very reasonable attempt to tone down his remarks. You seem rather desperate not to give him the benefit of the doubt.

          4. Sheesh!! DMY Goldleaf!! :P

      2. I Love The Pope
        5th October 2011, 14:01

        Maybe Lewis fans should be more concerned about the fact that he crashes a lot and doesn’t win races and championships anymore.

    4. Dont watch any nascar then that just gets silly.

      “I would like to thank the Nestle, Mountain Dew, Sparko Ford Fusion team for such a great job”

      1. Micheal Waltrip can name 20 sponsors in seven seconds!

      2. And the Aussie V8’s, it’s all “Team Vocacom” and “the Jack Daniel’s boys” in that series.

        To be honest I don’t care if drivers mention their sponsors (or partners as McLaren calls them) names in interviews, because without sponsors the teams have no money, and with no money the teams can operate. If that’s what it takes to keep them invloved so be it!

    5. Could be worse, at Indy racing they even have sponsors for the onboard camera and laptime charts! And the presenters slavishly mouth the full name each time.

  6. Good on Jenson. Didn’t think he’d be doing this well. Nicest surprise of the season.

  7. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    5th October 2011, 10:53

    I think McLaren are very pleasantly suprised at just how good he is and he’s getting better and better. Just think what he could achieve if McLaren got behind him the way they do Hamilton.
    Either way if Hamilton wants to be World Champ again he’ll have to beat Button first. That’s gonna be tough!

    1. McLaren will certainly be happy with Jenson’s performances but not pleasantly surprised. They wouldn’t have hired him if they hadn’t believed in his calibre.

      And I’ll take this opportunity to spit in the eyes of the multitudes of people who at then end of 2009 said Jenson was a one-hit-double-diffuser-wonder who would do nothing at McLaren, especially when compared to Lewis. How wrong you all were.

      1. Yep, I’ll be the first to admit i am guilty as charged (is it the English saying?). Never ever thought Button would be where he is today. He has impressed me, especially recently (word of caution, three retirements in the last 5 races and it will seem like a bad idea to have signed him on long term, you are only as good as your X last races remember!). After Shangai, we all thought Button was a boring driver satisfied with fourht place and Hamilton the only one capable of challenging Vettel. Button has rised to the challenge nonetheless.

        I hope Lewis can get back on form next year (with a better knowledge of tyres and slightly matured) so we can at least have an interesting intra team battle in the top field.

      2. Not really, in terms of qualifying Jenson has been dominated by Lewis, and in terms of races Jenson is driving at his best this year, Lewis is having a diabolic season and is only one good result behind him.

        Says it all really.

        1. Dominated? The gap between the two are among the smallest of any driver pairings.

          The qualifying gap between Senna and Prost is on average much greater, yet while most will say Senna is the better driver, they wouldn’t say Prost is not really good either.

          Conversely, the gap between Mansell and Patrese are not that great in 1991 (before active suspension) yet even in that year Mansell is clearly the better driver.

          In short: qualifying results alone do not count for much. Some people are naturally better at it (incl. Jarno Trulli of the Trulli train)

          1. Thank you, Michel. You saved me the trouble!

          2. Actually, the qualifying gap, on average, is around 3/10ths of a second, which is very comparable to the Alonso/Massa difference. Lewis should, in reality, be up 12-2 in qualifying as well(he would have surely out-qualified Button in Monaco and Singapore if he were able to put in proper runs). In today’s terms, that’s pretty significant, in my opinion. Back in the day (Senna/Prost Era), qualifying differences were often very large. In today’s über-precise and exact racing world, the gaps will obviously be a lot smaller. Hence, 3/10ths of a second being a pretty significant difference, and carrying with it much different connotations than that same qualifying gap would have entailed in 1990, for example.

          3. I was refering to the qualifying battle which is what, 11-3 now?

            But yeah, the gap between them in terms of laptime is usually around 3 10ths.

  8. Well, as long he stays out of Ferrari.

  9. As a Ferrari fan as well as a Jenson fan I admit, I am slightly disappointed as this all but rules out any slim chance there may have been for a Ferrari switch.

    That said this is a sensible move and benefits everyone – McLaren have got a fast, solid, sensible driver, Jenson has a few more years in a top team, and Lewis has a team mate he knows well and gets along with.

    Great for the team, great for the fans and great for the sport.

    1. I never took the Button-Ferrari rumours seriously. He’s seemed very happy at McLaren from day one.

      1. Well, he also seemed happy at BAR… until he tried to leave for Williams. And then just as he could’ve moved to Williams… he decided to stay. And he also seemed happy at Brawn… before moving to McLaren. What I’m trying to say is, it’s hard to gauge a driver’s true plans just by looking at his emotions, especially in Jenson’s case.

        1. +1 COTD!

  10. Good news for Jenson, McLaren is a perfect fit for him and he for McLaren. I believe he has steadied the ship and made them much more consistent performers with his driving style and input.

  11. Good Stuff. When does Lewis’ contract run til?

    NOw they just need to build them both a championship winning capable car and let them slog it out between themselves! I love watching these 2 race each other!

  12. Great news, and means I dont need to get a new cap for next year :)

    1. Unless he is car number 3 ;)

      1. I think McLaren will retain them in the same car numbers for next year, regardless of who’s ahead. It’s much more convenient that way. And there is precedent – even though Kimi beat DC in 2003, DC kept #5 and Kimi kept #6 for 2004.

        1. Yeah, I think you’re right man. I can’t see Hamilton’s fragile mental outlook being improved by being, for want of a better word, ‘demoted’.

          1. Yeah but mclaren is a fair team and jenson may demand the number as should be his right *if* he finishes the season ahead. Jenson is known to be one of the nice guys of formula one but that doesn’t mean he wont take everything he can get.

  13. Good news but I’m little disappointed because I want him to go Ferrari in 2013. However it might be good sign for Massa.

  14. I’m glad, he’s a great asset to the team and I’d be quite disappointed if he moved to Ferrari any time soon.

  15. Why do you all dislike Jenson so much that you want to send him to Ferrari, Ferrari dominance in the modern F1 era began and ended with the “Brawn” years. Apart from the money and the occasional winning car Ferrari have been a terrible place for a driver to be, especially when the race-team has been run in-house.

    1. yes, i’m sure it’s a terrible place to be. who in their right mind would do such a thing?

      when was the ferrari team not in-house? grand prix racing IS the house over there.

      1. When they had a Frenchman and an Englishman ( Todt and Brawn) running the team, they were bought in (with Schui) to replace the Ferrari career employees who had been presiding over a long losing streak.

  16. Yeap, great news.

  17. Have to agree with Martin… Vodafone Mc:Laren Mercedes (;p) is the only team with the best driver lineup in the whole grid.

    This is a great news for McLaren when one driver feels more at home and prefers to extend the relationship. This will give them stability in their development programe for the next two years atleast.

    So, if Lewis decides to extend his contract for two more years (or he already has the contract), not sure which way the development of the car will lean towards or neutral as ever.

  18. Good news! I never expected anything less to be honest. Really hope he keeps up his form into 2012.

  19. I’m slightly baffled and disappointed with the amount of comments about Ferrari, rather than what the article is actually about. I think it’s a great move for Button and Mclaren, it’s turning into a great combination. ferrari are currently a team where if Jenson went there he’d play second fiddle and currently be slower than his current team. There’s no reason for him to go there.

    1. Sorry my fault :-(

      1. Don’t be sorry!

  20. This deal is great news! Prior to McLaren we only saw two decent seasons from Jenson (2004 & 2009) but this has shown him in a light that many didn’t believe was possible (although I felt he was always capable given the car).

    1. Man, he should be thanking Ross Brawn a million times over for saving BAR/Honda/BGP/Mercedes. That was the difference between: 10 GP wins, a long-term McLaren deal, and being a world champion; and a Renault F1 drive with a handful of podiums and an utter lack of success.

      1. Good point.

      2. Absolutely. But Jenson himself stayed loyal to that team for so many years, through the good and the bad, and his reward was the BGP001. You’re right though.

      3. Excellent point, at the end of 2008 when Honda pulled out, people would be talking about “the curious case of Jenson Button, whose career was going in reverse”. Having had only 1 win to his name and not being a contender in his best year (2004) it would have been difficult to get a drive with any team, let alone McLaren.

  21. mike mcdermott
    5th October 2011, 16:14

    Imagine if Button had started his F1 career at McLaren ?

    1. He might’ve become David Coulthard. The lean years (especially at Honda) caused him a world of pain, but ensured he was mature enough and ready to win a title when the opportunity came.

    2. Almost, his first taste of F1 was in a McLaren in 1999…

    3. He came into F1 too quick, he scored the lowest ever mark in a Williams techincal test and it took him a few season to fully learn about car setup.

  22. McLaren Really has a killer driver line up!! The best among all teams without a doubt

    1. I totally agree. Two top-notch drivers, I just hope that when Mclaren have a championship winning car that Jenson and Lewis don’t take too many points off of eachother!

  23. I would have been very surprised if Mclaren hadn’t tried anything and everything to get Jenson under contract with the way he’s been driving this year.

    1. No doubt that McLaren would have been very keen to have him but his only other options, Ferrari and Red Bull seem pretty content with their own line-ups.

  24. Brilliant news! JB and McLaren are a great fit. :D

  25. Its a shame, i like Button, i don’t like McLaren… I would have loved to see Alonso go up againt Button in red.

  26. Roll-on-Friday.

    Sorry, I meant March 2012

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