The Abu Dhabi season closer sees Jenson Button’s 305th Grand Prix and the finale of his Formula 1 career. The 36 year old rose from the ranks of British karting, progressing through Formula Ford and Formula 3, driving in Formula 1 in 2000 at the age of 20 with William’s. Button was Britain’s youngest racing driver and finished his first season in 8th place.
Then followed a move to Benetton which was rebranded Renault in 2002. Button was replaced by Fernando Alonso the following year and moved to British American Racing. Despite some early problems with team mate Jacques Villeneuve, Button took 10 podium places between 2004 and 2005. Honda’s takeover of BAR in late 2005 saw the team renamed Honda Racing F1 and the following year Button’s first win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
2007 and 2008 were difficult years for Button with criticism leveled at him for under performing. The failing Honda Racing team then announced it was leaving Formula 1, eventually being bought out by Brawn GP. This then saw a period of success for Button with him winning 6 of the 7 first races before going on to win the driver’s title.
In 2010 Brawn was bought out by Mercedes and Button moved to McLaren driving alongside Lewis Hamilton. That year saw 7 podium finishes including a win at the Australian and Chinese Grand Prix. The following year he finished overall 2nd with 3 wins and 12 podium places. After further success in 2012 Button later went on to announce he intended to stay with McLaren until he retired. The following three years saw Button finishing overall 9th, 8th and 16th.
Button announced this September that he intended to take a year away from Formula 1 with an option open to return in 2018, but now with a firm decision to retire made, Button has commented; “It’s been a long journey since eight years old until now.
“You get to Formula 1 with many dreams and hopefully you leave the sport with memories – some amazing memories, some life-changing, some good, some bad. To walk away with the world championship is very special, too.
“I will definitely step away from F1 happy with what I’ve achieved and definitely my life starts now.”
Allison Remzi Header Photo ©Andy Fitzpatrick