The Formula One team announced on Wednesday that Britain’s 2009 world champion, Jenson Button has put pen to paper on a new multi-year contract with McLaren.
The news came in just ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this Sunday. Button remains as the only driver standing in between Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and his second successive championship.
Vettel has all but the Formula One Trophy as he needs just one point to acquire the title. Button on the other hand must win just to stay in contention. He will have to win four more races after Japan in order to lessen the humongous lead Vettel has over all other drivers.
McLaren has admitted that retaining Button’s services for the next few season would strengthen the team in the long run. Button’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, already has a contract which will survive till the end of next season.
"I've never felt more at home at a team than I do at... McLaren," said Button. "I've won four of the greatest races of my life here (with McLaren), I'm currently lying second in the drivers' world championship and I feel that I'm driving better than ever."
The 31-year-old Englishman added, "You can only achieve that with the right level of support, and I truly believe that the passion and determination to win are stronger here... than anywhere else."
McLaren has abstained from presenting any details about the contract other than; it is based on multiple years, which ends the theory of Button moving to the lustrous Ferrari in 2013.
"I've made no secret of my ambition to continue winning races and world championships and I fully believe this is the place where I can achieve those things," said Button. "We... know how to win and we're busy refining an organisation that will enable us to keep on doing that for years to come."
Hamilton, who might finish behind his teammate Button for the first time in the championship, has welcomed Button’s extended stay as ‘great news’. In a press release he told media that Button is a ‘genuine’ team player and working with him has been an absolute pleasure.
He also said that he and Button were ‘hungry’ for victories and aimed to win more championships in the future. Vettel is leading the championship with 309 points on the board while Button is 2nd place but far away with 185 points. Hamilton is at the 5th place with 168 points.