Motorsport

Button agrees new contract

2011-10-05 12:27
Jenson Button (File)

Woking - Formula One driver Jenson Button signed a new multi-year contract with McLaren on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old former world champion joined McLaren at the beginning of the 2010 season and his deal was due to expire this year - though the English team had an option to extend it until 2012.

"I've never felt more at home at a team than I do at McLaren," Button said. "I've won four of the greatest races of my life here, I'm currently lying second in the drivers' world championship, and I feel that I'm driving better than ever.

"I've made no secret of my ambition to continue winning races and world championships, and I fully believe this is the place where I can achieve those aims."

The Englishman, who won the world title with Brawn GP in 2009, is currently second in the drivers' standings behind runaway leader Sebastian Vettel with five races to go.

He had been in negotiations to extend his deal with McLaren for some time but will now continue his partnership with Lewis Hamilton next season.

"Jenson is a great driver and a great guy," team principal Martin Whitmarsh said. "I can safely say that he's one of the most capable and respected drivers we've ever had, and I'm therefore absolutely delighted that he'll continue to work with us into the future."

Button has won twice this year, in Hungary and Canada, emerging as the closest contender to Vettel - though the German holds a 124-point lead going into Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix and needs only one point to clinch a second consecutive world title.

Hamilton, who is fifth in the standings, also welcomed the news.

"Jenson has been a great person to work with, and a genuine team-player, from the moment we welcomed him on board," the Briton said.

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