John Button, father of 2009 world champion Jenson, has died at the age of 70.
Button competed in rallycross events in the seventies before turning his attention to his son’s racing ambitions. He set up a company to build karting engines while Jenson began his ascent of the motor racing ladder.
The younger Button had only been out of karts for two years when he was able to tell his father “Dad, I’m a Formula One driver,” after gaining a surprise promotion to the top flight with Williams.
John Button remained at his son’s side through the highs and lows of his F1 career which culminated in his 2009 world championship triumph and subsequent move to McLaren.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh joined many Formula One figures paying tribute to him: “In my long Formula One career, I’ve encountered many drivers’ fathers, but I think it’s safe to say that John was perhaps more devoted to his son than any of them.”
“Ever since Jenson was a boy, racing go-karts, his dad has been at his side, helping him, supporting him, finding the money for the next race.”
“As Jenson grew older, and continued to win in cars, still John was always there, his most steadfast helper and supporter.”
“He was not only a great dad, but also a lovely man, and he’ll be enormously missed by Jenson, of course, by all at McLaren, and indeed by the Formula One community at large,” added Whitmarsh.
“I’m sure that everyone at McLaren, and indeed everyone in Formula One, will join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Jenson, to the Button family, and to their many friends.”
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