F1 Japanese Grand Prix: McLaren-Honda urging Button to stay for 2016

McLaren CEO Jonathan Neale says his team wants Jenson Button to stay for 2016 but admits he can do nothing to keep his driver if he does not want to stay.


Speculation about his future reached new heights after last Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix when he told British reporters he had made a decision.

Button’s future in the sport has dominated the agenda in Japan but the 2009 world champion has so far remained tight-lipped on his plans beyond this year.

Button is the Britain’s longest-serving F1 racer, who has achieved 15 wins in 278 races. “It doesn’t mean that it changes my mind in any way, but it’s important for us to be as one when we decide what’s happening”.

Button is too classy an act to throw McLaren Honda into the deep-end with a retirement announcement on the eve of their home Grand Prix, yet in listening to his comments it was very much a case of the fine print pulling the rug out from the Button and McLaren-Honda relationship.

“I really hope we’ve done enough between us to continue discussions with him and have the confidence to have him with us”, said Neale.

Button returned to that theme on Thursday, saying: “I don’t think any driver has joy when they are not fighting for victories”.

“I don’t like finishing 14th”.

But asked by AUTOSPORT if he could envisage racing in the WEC at some stage post-F1, Button said he had increasingly warmed to a series he had once ruled out.


Both Button and Spanish team-mate Fernando Alonso have collected multiple penalties due to repeated engine problems and the Briton has scored just six points in 13 races. That tells me Jenson is trying to find a way that makes it happen and so are the team. Over the past year we’ve got a lot closer as a team. “You’re going to have to wait for a little while I’m sorry to say, but we’re in good talks, the team and myself”. Indeed, though the 15-time race victor has declared he will retire from F1 rather than switch to another team, he has repeatedly signalled his frustration at the ongoing struggles with the McLaren-Honda team.

Alonso: 14th was my best-ever lap at Suzuka