John Button, father of Jenson, dies aged 70

2014 F1 season

John Button, Jenson Button, Interlagos, 2009John 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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54 comments on John Button, father of Jenson, dies aged 70

  1. A massive shame. Another brilliant character from the paddock gone. Thoughts with the Button family.

  2. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 13th January 2014, 18:28

    Heartbreaking is the word. Can’t think of many other characters whose presence will be so missed in the F1 paddock. I have so much sympathy for the Button family, as their closeness was so obvious for everyone to see. Hopefully they will take comfort from that strong bond.

  3. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 13th January 2014, 18:29

    This man was a legend. He will be incredibly missed.

    My thoughts to the Button family.

  4. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 13th January 2014, 18:51

    Seemed like a very nice man with a love for racing and even more love for his family.
    Vaya con dios, John Button.

  5. Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 13th January 2014, 19:09

    This is awful, tragic news. He was one the first of the “racing dads” I really warmed to and he seemed like a genuine, honest but properly average bloke, the kind of person you could just bump into and have a good chat.

    My condolences to the whole Button family in this difficult time.

  6. Very Very sad news, John Button was such a great personality in the pit lane always had a smile and kind words. RIP all my thoughts and condolences go to the Button family. If there is one thing we can take solace in is that john button was able to see his son go from humble carting to become a F1 Drivers Champion in his lifetime

  7. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 13th January 2014, 19:21

    It was always a joy to see this man laughing it up in the paddock. It’s not difficult to see why he was so popular. He’ll be sorely missed. Rest in peace, John.

  8. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 13th January 2014, 19:35

    Oh dear. Awful news, he will be missed by everyone. My sympathies to all his family.

  9. Aced (@aced) said on 13th January 2014, 19:39

    Oh, man, this is really sad news. He and Jenson were so close and he always seemed like such a loving person. My thoughts are with Jenson and his family.

  10. JCost (@jcost) said on 13th January 2014, 19:41

    Rest In Peace John Button. The man of pink shirts! What a character.

  11. PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 13th January 2014, 19:42

    Such bad news :/ He was definitely one of the nicest people in the paddock, always looking happy in interviews, also seemingly up for a laugh and you could tell he was a ridiculously proud father to Jenson. You could also see where Jenson got some of his personality from and his sense of humor. RIP John, a great man taken far too soon. Thoughts with his family.

  12. Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th January 2014, 19:49

    I feel very sad both for Jenson and for John himself. I was always happy to see him in the paddock, with that big smile on his face, and will be sad not to any more. And it must be awful for Jenson right now. All my thoughts go to the Button family.

  13. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 13th January 2014, 20:01

    An awful shock. I always enjoyed it when he popped up on TV, he’d cut right through the self-importance all around him in F1.

    But there are some lovely tributes and stories appearing from racers and writers who knew John, on their blogs and Twitter. I can see he meant much more than just some bland statement about “sincerest condolences” or “my thoughts are with…”

  14. kieraa (@kkieraa) said on 13th January 2014, 20:20

    RIP. Terrible news, thoughts go out to Jenson and family.

  15. Win7Golf (@win7golf) said on 13th January 2014, 20:22

    RIP John.
    Will be missed in the paddock. Very nice and supportive man and father. Always a smile in his face!
    My thoughts go out to Jenson and all of his family.
    Stay strong and have a great season for your daddy!

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