Jenson Button’s father John dies of suspected heart attack

Jenson Button celebrates with father John during his championship year in 2009

Jenson Button celebrates with father John during his Championship year in 2009

John Button, father of 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson, and a popular presence in the Formula One paddock, has died of a suspected heart attack aged 70.

The McLaren driver’s agent said in a statement that the body was found at home in the south of France by a friend on Sunday.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh mourned a “unique and…irreplaceable part of the McLaren family” while drivers and bosses paid fond tributes to the Briton.

“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,” said Whitmarsh.

Jenson Button with his father John Button in 1998

Jenson Button with his father John, 1998

“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.”

Button senior enjoyed a successful career of his own in rallycross before devoting himself to his son’s career, also preparing go-karts for others including Lewis Hamilton, who went on to become 2008 World Champion and a McLaren team mate.

John Button

John Button

In Formula 1, he attended almost all of Button’s 249 races and could usually be found in the team hospitality area, happy to stay in the background with a glass of wine close to hand while supplying a steady stream of entertaining motor racing tales.

“Without Dad, I probably would never have got into motorsport,” Button said in an autobiography ghost-written after his 2000 debut season with Williams.

“Throughout those early years he was the one standing out there in the rain while I was on the track having all the fun.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • jon

    too sad

  • Spartacus

    Sad news; My thoughts are with the Button family.

  • Netty

    My thoughts are with jenson and his family very sad news god bless he will still be watching you jenson xx

  • Kimi4WDC

    Great thing, your son is a Champ and driving for McLaren. John must have passed away as a very proud and happy person. Hopefully Jenson does not dwell too much on bad things as his dad sure would not want him too. RIP.

  • O’Ferrari

    RIP

  • WestMclarenMercedes

    Hope this does not affect his season. Prayers with you and your family JB

  • McLarenfan

    RIP John. Well wishes to Jenson and all the Button family and friends

  • Hawk

    RIP

  • Love4SpeedTVF1

    Jenson & his pop were so tight. Glad they had a chance to climb the mountain together & enjoy it at the top. RIP John Button

  • Tamburello_1994

    Sorry to hear. RIP.

  • the fan

    one of the most supportive fathers ive seen in formula 1… sad to hear this. RIP

  • matthew

    RIP to a wonderful father. Thoughts go out to the button family.

  • Bub

    Very sad and a great shock.

    R.I.P.

  • LOL

    RIP and best wishes to the buttons.

  • K-15-

    The most supportive dad you’ll see. Loved his presence on the paddock. R.I.P John Button and thank you for bringing Jenson to this world.

  • Zombie Jebus

    RIP

  • F1Novice

    RIP John

    The man is a legend……. Perhaps we should organise a “wear a pink shirt for the day” in his memory ?