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Jenson Button decides to race on: Will break the 300 Grands Prix barrier in 2016

Jenson Button has laid to rest any doubts about his retirement and will compete in his 17th F1 season next year, once again with McLaren Honda.

Jenson Button decides to race on: Will break the 300 Grands Prix barrier in 2016

Jenson Button has laid to rest any doubts about his retirement and will compete in his 17th F1 season next year, once again with McLaren Honda. Button will be 36 in January and by the end of the 2016 season, he will have competed in 304 Grands Prix, two fewer than Michael Schumacher and 18 short of Rubens Barrichello's record.

There was speculation ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix that Button was set to quit. He had not been told by the team whether it planned to take up the break clause option in their contract to release him. McLaren boss Ron Dennis explained after the race that he had told Button at the weekend that they wished to continue and regretted that he had not told him earlier in the week, avoiding all the speculation in the media. He underlined that he required a sign off from the other shareholders to do so.

This is because the second year in Button's contract came with a $4m rise in salary, whereas McLaren will have quite a financial shortfall after this season's disastrous performance. At present they are set to receive around $48m in prize money for 9th in the championship, plus the bonus payment agreed with Bernie Ecclestone of $63m, making a total of $111m. In contrast Ferrari will receive $179m.

With no title sponsor and no prospect of one, McLaren will have to lean on Honda and the McLaren shareholders for funds to pay the $40m salary of Fernando Alonso and the approximately $12m for Button.

Jenson Button, Ron Dennis

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. "

Ron Dennis

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said: "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."

In Qualifying this year Alonso has out qualified Button 8-5, however those figures need to be read with caution as the poor reliability for the team has meant that several times the drivers have not been able to take part in qualifying, certainly in Button's case.

Has Button done the right thing? Where do you think McLaren Honda will be in 2016? leave your comments below

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