Whitmarsh: John the most devoted father in F1

Whitmarsh: John the most devoted father in F1

14 January 2014 – McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has led tributes to John Button, the father of current driver Jenson, who passed away in his home on the French Riviera on Sunday after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Having attended all bar one of Jenson's Formula 1 races, John Button became one of the paddock's most popular figures, forging a strong bond with the McLaren team when his son signed with them in 2010.

"Speaking on behalf of all at McLaren Mercedes, I want to say how very sad I was to hear the news of John's passing," said Whitmarsh.

"In my long Formula 1 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.

"And, even now, in recent years, during which Jenson has become the consummate Formula 1 world champion that he is, the most experienced driver on the Formula 1 grid in fact, still John has been ever-present, as loyal and as loving as ever, a benign and popular member of Jenson's small and intimate entourage.

"This coming season will be Jenson's fifth as a McLaren driver. I believe John has attended every grand prix over the past four seasons, and over that period he's become a unique and, I think it's fair to say, irreplaceable part of the McLaren 'family'.

"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 1 community at large.

"I'm sure that everyone at McLaren, and indeed everyone in Formula 1, will join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Jenson, to the Button family, and to their many friends."

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