F1 pays tribute to 'Papa Smurf'

Tuesday 14-January-2014 08:12

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.

Deeply saddened by the passing of John Button. I'm so sorry @jensonbutton John was such a great man and will be missed by so many. God bless

- Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) January 13, 2014

- Mark Webber (@AussieGrit) January 13, 2014

My condolences to all the Button family, especially to Jenson . Very sad news. John....a great man, a friend, we will miss him.

- Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) January 13, 2014

We have so many memories of John's love of life from his years with the team in Brackley. He will be greatly missed

- MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) January 13, 2014

We're shocked to hear about John Button. Many of the team knew him well, he was a great personality in the paddock and will be hugely missed

- Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) January 13, 2014

Very sad and shocked to hear about the death of John Button. A great character but above all a very kind man F1 will badly miss #johnbutton

- Paddy Lowe (@paddylowe) January 13, 2014

I'm very very sorry for my team-mate, @JensonButton. His dad was a really great guy who will be missed by all in #F1. #JohnButtonRIP

- Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) January 13, 2014

Such a nice guy!! RIP John Button!! You will be missed in the Paddock!!! All the best to you and your Family JensonButton !!!

- Sergio Perez (@SChecoPerez) January 13, 2014

@JensonButton , all my thoughts to you and your family... Really sad news, we will miss John a lot.

- Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) January 13, 2014

A Gentleman of the paddock, a great man and father: John #Button will be missed in #F1. Our thoughts are with @JensonButton and his family!

- Toro Rosso (@ToroRossoSpy) January 14, 2014

John Button R.I.P

Great man and big loss for F1. My dearest condolences to @JensonButton and his family.

- Esteban Gutierrez (@EstebanGtz) January 13, 2014

So sad to read about the passing of John Button! He was a great man and will be missed by many - including myself! RIP

- Nico H├╝lkenberg (@NicoHulkenberg) January 13, 2014

Very sad to here about John Button. Always such a happy and cheerful man around the sport we all love. Thoughts are with the Button family..

- Paul Di Resta (@pauldirestaf1) January 13, 2014

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