Speculation over the future of Jenson Button has been brought to an end with confirmation that the former world champion will continue to drive for McLaren in 2016.
The 35-year-old Briton had been considering his future following a troublesome Formula One season, which has seen him pick up just six points to date.
However, McLaren announced on Thursday that Button – the most experienced driver on the grid – will see out the second year of his existing contract.
In a statement, McLaren chairman and chief executive officer Ron Dennis said: “Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks, and the fact that our talks have led to today”s announcement is very pleasing to both of us and will delight and motivate all at McLaren-Honda.
“As I have made clear whenever I have been asked about the subject, Jenson”s current contract is of two years’ duration [2015 and 2016].
“There is a ‘terminate after year one’ option that McLaren could have triggered if we had wished to do so, but, once it became clear from my many conversations with Jenson that he remained as enthusiastic and as committed and as focused as ever, that option immediately became an irrelevance.
“That being the case, Jenson will race for McLaren-Honda next year, under the terms and conditions as set out in the two-year contract that both parties entered into a year ago.
“As I say, I am extremely pleased. Jenson is the most experienced driver currently racing in Formula 1, and next season he is due to become only the third driver [after Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher] in Formula 1 history to pass the milestone of 300 Grands Prix.
“But, although that wealth of experience makes him a massively valuable asset to our team, hugely expert in all aspects of the 21st-century Formula 1 driver’s craft, he is also supremely fit and as super-fast as ever.”
Button added: “Over the past month or so I have done quite a lot of thinking, and it is no secret that I was at one point in two minds about my future.
“But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now [2010-2015], and in that time I have got to know Ron very well. He and I have had some very good chats these past few weeks, and during those chats it has become clear to me that Ron is both utterly determined and uniquely equipped to lead our team through its current difficulties to great successes in the future.
“That gives me great confidence, and it is for that reason that, together, he and I have decided to continue our partnership; and, as soon as I had made that decision, straight away I realised it was the correct one.”