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F1 pays tribute to 'Papa Smurf'

Tuesday 14th January 2014

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F1 pays tribute to 'Papa Smurf'

F1 pays tribute to 'Papa Smurf'

The Formula One community has paid tribute to Jenson Button's father, John, who passed away over the weekend.

The Button family confirmed in a statement on Monday that the 70-year-old John died of a suspected heart attack at his home in the South of France on Sunday.

John, who was affectionately known as Papa Smurf, was a well known and popular figure in the F1 paddock and attended most of his son's races. He was there when Jenson made his debut, won his first grand prix and when he secured the 2009 World Championship. He event went with to Buckingham Palace when Jenson was awarded an MBE.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone led the tributes, saying: "As with most people, I suspect, I was surprised to see that we lost John Button. He is someone that I have known for over 40 years and is one of those people that you always expect to see at a Formula One race. I will certainly miss him."

Button's McLaren team principal admitted it was a very sad day for the Woking squad.

"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."

Others also took to Twitter to pay their tributes.

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