According to a statement released by McLaren, Button will be staying on for at least another year. The news follows a recent announcement by McLaren chief Ron Dennis, who noted that Button is still under contract, and that the team has no intention of dismissing him or letting him go early. Citing both Button's wealth of experience and his current capabilities, the announcement confirms that McLaren will not trigger the escape clause in his contract that would have allowed him to terminate it after this season.
So he may not be leaving soon, but the still-new McLaren-Honda partnership will need to perform better if it's going to keep aging former champs like Button and teammate Fernando Alonso interested in continuing with the team. Plagued by teething problems, the McLaren has yet to score a single podium finish this season. It has also failed to get at least one of its cars to the finish line at nine out of the 13 races, leaving it in ninth place in the constructors' standings. That's the worst the team has performed since 1980 when it was still under Ford-Cosworth DFV power.
McLaren-Honda is happy to confirm that Jenson Button will race for the team in 2016.
Ron Dennis (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer) 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."
Jenson Button said:
"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.
"Okay, granted, this year has not been an easy one for us, but we know what we need to do to improve things and, in collaboration with Honda, we will work extremely hard over the next weeks and months in order to make sure that 2016 will be a much better season than 2015 has been.
"I can't wait!"