Jenson Button feels continuity was the major reason behind McLaren’s decision to tie him down to a long-term contract…
Jenson Button feels continuity was the major reason behind McLaren’s decision to tie him down to a long-term contract.
Button, who joined the Woking squad on the back of his 2009 World Championship success with Brawn GP, will remain at McLaren for the next few seasons after agreeing to a new multi-year deal in October.
There had been little doubt that 31-year-old would sign a new contract, but the big question was: what would the length of the deal be? Button had made it clear he would prefer a short-term contract while McLaren wanted him to commit his long-term future.
McLaren got their wish in the end and Button is happy with the way things panned out.
“It’s something that McLaren wanted,” he told reporters at the Race of Champions. “I’m not blowing smoke up my arse, but a team wants continuity.
“For me, I wouldn’t mind taking it year on year and every year renewing the contract. I think it’s a nice position to be in, and it’s exciting that way.
“But it’s also good to have a long-term contract in terms of knowing that the team is going to support you and help you build as a driver and you need to work together to build a car around you.
“There are two guys in a team, and obviously this team has always been Lewis’s [Hamilton] team, understandably, he’s a World Champion, he’s achieved so much for McLaren and everyone loves that, but this year I feel I had more involvement in the car than the previous car, and that’s really important to me. We’ve both had a lot of involvement in the car and we’ve really moved it forward.
“You need continuity, the team thinking that you might leave at the end of the year – it doesn’t work. This is working well for me and I’m happy to be in this position.”
Although he didn’t manage to win the World Championship, the 2011 season was a very good one for Button. He finished second behind the dominant Sebastian Vettel in the standings and also beat Lewis Hamilton to win the team-mate battle at McLaren.
Button believes finishing ahead of Hamilton was down to him improving than Hamilton’s poor form.
“For me personally I felt more and more comfortable and confident in the team with finding the right direction for the car,” he said.
“I feel that I was driving better, and I obviously can’t speak for Lewis.
“He had some pretty tough races but he also had some great races. In Abu Dhabi he was untouchable. He’s still got the speed.”