F1 World Champion 2014
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John Button: Remembering a great man
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Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jan 2014   |  6:33 pm GMT  |  135 comments

John Button, father of Jenson and one of the most charismatic people in the F1 paddock of the last 15 years has died at the age of 70. His loss is a source of great sadness to me as he was one of my favourite people in the sport.

He is believed to have suffered a heart attack at his home in the South of France.

John was a terrific man; very funny, irreverent and loved by many in F1 regardless of their team affiliation or whether they had ever had anything to do with him or Jenson.

He could wander into any team’s base, knew mechanics on every team and reminded everyone of the fun side of the sport.

But he was also serious about racing and understood it very well. A former rally cross driver, who worked as an engine tuner in karting, he saw all of the star drivers of the last 25 years starting out on the ladder and was a very good judge of talent.

A fundamental part of Jenson Button’s inner circle from his debut in F1 in 2000, one of John’s strengths was that he was as good at listening as he was at talking and he was very astute at gathering information and advising his son, where appropriate. He had a light touch, unlike many sporting dads. He stayed in the background, didn’t interfere with the team, but always kept listening and learning.

He brought good humour to even the most trying of situations. When Jenson was struggling with a thoroughly uncompetitive Honda in the late 2000s John appeared at the track one day with a T shirt which said, “Today is going to be a better day!”

At Indianapolis one year Johnny Rotten, the former lead singer of the Sex Pistols, was a guest and he and John discovered each other and got talking. That evening they met up in the bar of our hotel and I had a quick drink with them, before they headed out on the town. The following morning – race day – John was his usual spritely self, whereas Mr Rotten was living up to his surname with the mother and father of all hangovers!

I first met John when I was commentating on the Macau Grand Prix in 1999. Jenson was 19 and had finished third in the British F3 championship and was making his Macau debut. I was nine years into my F1 career and two years into the ITV F1 contract at the time, broadcasting F1 to the UK and other English language countries.

John asked me to lunch in the Italian trattoria above the old pit building with him, Jenson and their trainer at the time. He wanted to know about F1; how it works, who were the good and bad guys, what were the teams looking for, how the TV and media worked and so on. We spent over two hours talking. I’m sure it was part of a methodical programme of listening and learning to F1 insiders and gaining as much knowledge as possible. They knew that there was a chance to enter F1, Prost and Williams were interested and Jenson eventually signed for Williams.

I had recently published the book on Michael Schumacher “Quest for Redemption”, which laid out a lot of Schumacher’s methodology. I had spent a fair bit of time with him and Ross Brawn, who was then the technical director of Ferrari and who later became Jenson’s team boss. It had been a fascinating process, learning the inner workings of that relationship. To me, the key to it was being able to maintain consistency at a high level and never giving anything away to the opposition and I told Jenson and John that. Ross created the right environment for Schumacher to thrive and Schumacher kept it on the limit the whole time. He didn’t question Ross’ demands, he just did it.

I spent a lot of time with John at racetracks over the years, comparing notes, listening to old war stories and insights into the current F1 scene. He told me some fascinating stories about Jenson’s rise to the top, including the decisive moment where he said to his son, “We have to make a decision now; either we do this for fun or we do it for real and make a career of it.” Button didn’t hesitate and told his father that he wanted to go for it. He went on to win the 2009 World Championship.

It was the greatest prize imaginable for John. His son, the world champion. No-one deserved it more than John, for all that he had put in and the support he had given. Some people achieve greatness themselves and some are able to live it vicariously through their children. John Button was clearly in the latter category, but few dads could have derived more pleasure than John did from the moment. There was something great about the way his life’s ambition for his son came together.

Gil de Ferran, who ran the Honda team when Jenson was there, once observed to me, “His (Jenson’s) Dad is always a help, because the belief and the emotional support of his Dad has never wavered. Having a guy next to him who has been supporting him since his childhood must be a good thing, because it must give you strength.

“I saw it as a positive to have someone with so much belief in you.”

Jenson has lost that now and it must feel like losing a limb.

F1 is an immeasurably poorer place for the loss of John Button. Deepest sympathies to his family.

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135 Comments
  1. Charlie says:

    Perfectly said James. Just condolences. Watched the partnership of father and son over the years and saddened by the loss of an inspiration on and off the track.

    1. Dave C says:

      Such a classy man unlike a certain other British champion’s dad and I’m just glad the Button’s realised their dreams of the good life and becoming world champion whilst having honour whilst achieving their goal, will be missed.

      1. J.Danek says:

        i think this is an incredibly inappropriate moment, Dave C, to snipe at Lewis Hamilton’s dad and I cannot understand why James would tolerate such an underhanded comment.

      2. Andy says:

        Whilst it may be inappropriate j danek it is allo very accurate. Rip john button

  2. Sammy says:

    Aw – that’s unexpected.
    Sincere condoleances to Jenson and his family.

    1. malcb says:

      So very sad.

      1. Gareth says:

        Very sad to hear of Johns passing, my thoughts are with his family.

      2. J.Danek says:

        “so very sad” — indeed. and this is an unpleasant, unwelcome reminder of my own parents’ mortality, advanced age, and inevitable passing. :(

  3. Williams4Ever says:

    I’ll miss the famous pink shirt in the #F1 paddock. RIP John Button.

  4. What a pity, I guess we all have to go sometime. Jenson. Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your dad. May his soul rest in peace. Amen

  5. Malcolm says:

    I’m going to miss those pink shirts, and that smiling face photographed in the paddock area.

  6. Yorkshireman says:

    Very sad. He seemed a very affable bloke. Condolances to Jenson and the family

  7. Mark R says:

    Thoughts with Jenson and the family. Great article James.

  8. D@X says:

    RIP John, we are behind you Jenson! Hope you can draw strength that has been invested in you by such a caring Dad. Wish you peace at this time of great sorrow.

  9. Monza 71 says:

    I cannot add anything to the fine tribute to John that you have composed.

    He always came over as such an irrepressible, friendly, honest and straight bloke, quite a rarely in the F1 Paddock.

    We all have tremendous feelings of sympathy for Jenson, the family and all their friends around the world.

    John was one of those rare people who always brings a smile on your face whenever you think of him.

    He will be remembered with fondness by everyone who met him.

  10. JB says:

    My Condolences to Jensen Button and his family. I always find his ever smiley face brightens up the atmosphere.

  11. Alex K says:

    He definitely came across as a good guy and the amount of messages from journo’s, drivers and team members shows how greatly he was appreciated. Very sad indeed.

  12. Kenny says:

    Very sad news indeed. Even from the distance of seeing and hearing John Button’s comments on TV, it was clear that he loved F1and was very knowledgeable. His love and support for Jenson was palpable. Jenson has been one of classiest drivers in F1 and it’s obvious where he gets his character from. Thanks James, for the beautifully written and heart felt tribute.

    1. FastGuy says:

      Thx, Kenny…my thoughts exactly. Thanks, James.
      Excellent picture atop the article.

      Very sorry, Jenson. My condolences to you and family.

  13. Gaz Boy says:

    Rest in peace John; you were a giant of man with a big heart and huge personality who lit up Formula 1 as much as your brilliant son has lit up F1 on the track. If its any consolation in this difficult time for Jenson and his sisters Tanya, Natasha and Samantha it is at least John and Jenson achieved their dream of world championship in that wonderful summer of 2009. Bless you John, we will miss you, and thank you for gifting the world your wonderful son and one of british motor sports greatest drivers.

  14. Paul Harding says:

    A very well written piece on such sad news and oozing genuine feeling. I first met Jenson at Goodwood FOS,when he had just come in to F1 and for several years at FOS it was my job to look out for him and get him around the site,as I did for you aswell James.If their is any comfort at such a sad time it is that we see in Jenson so much of his father, simply ‘a really good bloke’.
    Maybe see you some time soon James. Best wishes.
    Paul Harding

  15. P Jaxon says:

    Sad news. Condolences to his family and those aquainted with him. I always enjoyed seeing him around the paddock, and that was only ever via TV.

  16. Gino Palermo says:

    Deepest sympathies to the Button family…it is never easy, Jensen you will get thru this, you just won’t get over it any time soon.

  17. Grant H says:

    Sad news, i will always remember jenson and john celebrating at the end of brazil 09 when jenson was crowned,

  18. Dino says:

    Really sad news. My condolences for all his friends and family.

  19. Bruce says:

    Well written, James. I will miss seeing John on the TV at each F1 race with his happy smiling face and his pink shirt. I remember seeing him when Jenson won the World Championship and the look of such pleasure and pride in his son.
    He will be sorely missed by Jenson and his family, friends, those in the paddock and those of us who have got so used to seeing him.
    My sincere condolences.

  20. Darren says:

    Very sad indeed, seen less of him in TV interviews this last few years but he always came across as a genuine and funny man who was rightly proud but not boastful of his son.

    I’m sure you will anyway James but I think it would be fitting if you passed on condolences to Jenson and his family on behalf of all the readers of this website.

  21. Tim says:

    Very nicely written article James.
    Extremely sad news, please pass my sincere condolences to the Button family for their loss.

  22. Sebee says:

    Wow, 70. He sure didn’t look it, especially since there was always talk about how young Jenson is. Honetly, at least some comfort can be had that he had so much good time here.

    Really, too many unpleasant things happening this off season.

    1. Sebee says:

      On a brighter note, we likely already know Jenson’s son’s name, if he happens to have a son.

      1. BoogWar says:

        Life,
        Like a race
        Goes not on
        Forever
        Every river
        Meets the sea
        Its how
        The course
        Is charted
        On that river
        That makes
        The difference
        You see

        Be strong
        O venerated
        Son of England
        The tears
        Must come,
        I know
        But you
        Will find
        That your course
        Has been charted
        By he
        Who has been there
        Before

        Follow the pink shirt
        Take heed,
        Don’t get wrecked
        On the rocks
        In the shallows
        Of regret…
        Be proud
        Of the fact
        That when
        You were asked
        You gave
        Of your
        Very best

        That’s all
        He ever asked
        That’s all
        He wanted
        And though
        The pink shirt
        Is no more…
        In the minds
        Of those
        Who knew him
        And loved him
        The shirt
        Soldiers on
        Evermore.

      2. tom eckles says:

        A wonderful tribute.

  23. Phil says:

    A real shock and a terrible loss of a man who always seem to enjoy life and enrich the lives of those around him.

  24. Dmitry says:

    2014 is not going to be a good year, is it?

    Very sad news, once again totally out of the blue, and once again it feels very personal.

    Sympathies to Jenson and all their family. Be strong, for John.

  25. rob in victoria bc says:

    Nicely put James.
    Still hoping to see something from you on Brian Hart.

  26. Monji says:

    A great man he was!

    Rest in peace.

    As an F1 fan I have to say the last month has been very difficult with its news.

  27. Rod says:

    Very touching memories, James. My condolences to Jenson and his family.

  28. goferet says:

    My condolences to Jenson and the family during this difficult time.

    The greatest wish of any parent is seeing your children happy and with Jenson having reached the peak of the pyramid by becoming World Champion, am sure John must be smiling down from Heaven right this moment.

    Yes John will be dearly missed for he was one of those faces on Tv that always gave a smile and a wave for the cameras and thus lightening up the mood after the race.

    RIP John Button, till we meet again.

  29. Josef says:

    I started watching F1 in 2000 and have always been a Jenson follower. So I genuinely don’t even remember the sport I love without John Button. The man was, quite clearly to anyone who took even a moment to notice, a total, total dude.

  30. Well written from the heart, James, very sad news I am sure Jenson will dig deep this year to win a few GP’s ‘for his dad’.

  31. Jaybee says:

    Very sad news. That’s a lovely and obviously heartfelt tribute James.
    My sincere condolences to Jenson and the other family members.
    The F1 paddock will be a poorer place without JB senior.

  32. Racyboy says:

    With all the seriousness and stern faces of F1, it was always nice to see his big beaming dial flash across the screen.

    RIP J.B. we’ll miss you.

  33. Richard says:

    I never met the man and my only knowledge of him was things I read and the odd interview British TV would give John Button, as the father and mentor of Jenson. He seemed a good man and became widely respected in the paddock. He definitely seemed to live his life through his son but, after the time and money invested in Jenson, it seems a fitting return on that investment. Let’s hope Jenson can draw strength from those years spent very closely with his father. It was a partnership!

  34. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Wow, beautiful article! I have a feeling Jenson will come out of this very strong.

  35. Inner Circle says:

    I raise my glass of red wine to John Button, like he did so often at GPs. He’ll be remembered and missed for a long, long time.
    …and may he be the only great F1 personality we lose this year. I think he’s talking about that with higher powers just now.

  36. Andy Truelove says:

    Very sad news and a lovely tribute which I hope Jensen reads one day. My condolences to you all RIP

  37. Rhi says:

    It is a testament to John’s nature that the F1 community are mourning his passing.

    While, for anyone involved, the loss of a parent would be a tragedy us ‘mere F1 fans’ it would be something we’d feel sad to hear but likely little more. John was different.

    For me it always felt like he wasn’t about the business of it all (though obviously he’d have been looking out for his son’s best interests) but more that he was an enthusiastic fan, just like the rest of us. His warm nature would resonate in any tv appearence and he became, over the years, as much ‘part of the furniture’ as any team member, principal & driver.

    To know that we will not see his jolly grin is a sad prospect & he will be very much missed.

    My heartfelt thoughts & condolences are with Jenson & all his family at this time.

  38. Ashboy says:

    Sad news for the Button family. It will be emotional for Jenson next time he is on the podium.

    He always reminded me of my dad, how they worked together. Just glad he got the chance to see his son achieve there shared goal of a world championship.

  39. Wayne says:

    Deepest condolences to JB and all of F1. It was a pleasure seeing John’s always smiling face on TV over a GP weekend.

    So sorry for you loss, JB.

  40. Simon Lord says:

    Condolences to the whole Button family and entourage. John came across as one of the good guys, popular yet not intrusive. A huge support to his son and others. R.I.P.

  41. Paul Mc says:

    Awful news my condolences to the family. He always came across as such a good father to Jenson and always had a smile on his face. Big loss to the F1 community.

  42. Andrew Carter says:

    My condolences to Jensen and the whole Button family, even we fans will miss him as he was one of the more interesting interviewee’s in the paddock.

  43. Deb says:

    Thanks James for a beautifully written article. This was sad news to hear today. Like many others, we will miss seeing John on the TV. Sincere condolences to Jenson and his family.

  44. Ashley says:

    Such Sad News…
    Rest In Peace John Button

  45. Spyros says:

    Absolutely horrible news. And only at 70. My condolences to Jenson and the rest of the Button family.

  46. Random 79 says:

    Rest in peace John.

  47. Richard says:

    RIP John! Condolences to the Button Family!

  48. Rich B says:

    so sorry for your loss JB, don’t feel like he’s gone though, I’m sure he’ll be watching you when you step in the new car.

  49. Alistair says:

    Very sad news, my condolences to the Button family.
    RIP John, God bless.

  50. Olivier says:

    I am going to miss that pink shirt. I didn’t know him personally but it was always a joy to watch him on telly. Especially if Button won or got a podium.

  51. Paul H says:

    Sad news, never heard a bad word said about the bloke. He always seemed to lighten the mood and have time for everyone, from rival teams, to the broadcasters, right through to the fans who have posted so many lovely stories on Twitter of the time they met him. A true character who seemed to get along with everyone, a feature for which the paddock is a poorer place for his loss in these increasingly corporate times. I feel JB has lost not only his father but his best mate. Sincere condolences to Jenson and family.

  52. Nic Maennling says:

    Oh how very sad. The F1 crew were very generous with giving him air time and his face was always a bright light.

    My heart goes out to Jenson and his family.

  53. Chris Thompson says:

    Had the pleasure of meeting John once and he was a friendly down to earth bloke who was passionate about racing, sad loss to the F1 community. A very dark 2 weeks or so for F1 with the sad passings of Brian Hart and John Button and Michael Schumacher’s serious accident.

  54. Joe B says:

    Absolutely shocked to see this. Beautiful post on the man though James, my sympathies to you as well as to John’s family.

  55. Prudence says:

    RIP John, condolences Jenson and family. Can’t imagine your loss.

  56. zx6dude says:

    Very sad. My condolences to the family. Rest in Peace John

  57. Cliff says:

    Not much more to add to your excellent post James!
    Best memory of John Button? Watching a grown man crying his eyes out as his son came in fifth to become WDC…Brazil 2009.
    Condolences to the friends and family of the Button family.

    R.I.P John Button

  58. Victor says:

    my condolences to Jenson and their family. His Dad was one of those few guys in F1 to whom you could warm up.

  59. Chris George says:

    Another terrible shock
    Can’t begin to imagine how hard this must be for Jenson. They seemed more like best friends than father and son.
    My thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Jenson and his family.

  60. hopefully F1 will decide to mark Johns passing with a fitting tribute, maybe a young drivers award ?

  61. Greg M says:

    A wonderful way to eulogise a great dad. Thanks for sharing, James.

  62. Serrated_Edge says:

    Terrible loss.

    A great bloke and Father who from day one did everything to support his Son’s dream to make it to the top of motor racing.

    One of the most heart-warming things was in 2009 to see Father and Son achieve that dream.

    Condolences to the Button family.

  63. Yvonne says:

    Nice words, fitting tribute.

    Jenson won’t be surprised to learn that folk like me, and there’s quite a lot of folk like me, only ever watched F1 to see his Dad being interviewed live on TV before and after the race. It was he that made the middle bit tolerable.

    Such a likeable man, and such a proud Englishman!

  64. ACx says:

    Condolences, to not just Jenson and his family, I think F1 and its fans will feel the loss too. Reading here and elsewhere, it certainly seems like a loss to all of us. Im sure even non Jenson fans appreciate, if nothing else, John’s presence in F1. John has always been a permanent, positive, family type figure for F1 as a whole. Even when things got unpleasant and cynical, John was there smiling and happy, in that pink shirt, reminding us all that, well, F1 is there for fun, enjoyment. Never met the bloke, but oddly, even I feel grief at John’s passing. I know I will miss him just being there. Im certainly not looking forward to F1 without John Button somewhere in the paddock. Not just one of the great sporting Dads, but a great ambassador for F1.

    Jenson, the whole of F1 is thinking of you and your family, on some level we all feel your loss. But, never ever forget, it is clear to anyone who knows anything about this silly sport, you made your Dad properly proud.

    Jenson, who am I to say, but Im sure going into this season with his Dad not there will be really hard. But I hope he can channel what ever he is feeling into this coming season. That, Im sure, is what John would have wanted to see. I think Jenson might be driving for his Dad this season.

    Um, maybe not appropriate here and now, but I don’t know where else to suggest it more appropriately, and if I offend, then I 100% apologise…

    As I type, it occurs to me that John Button was kind of under recognised or appreciated. James and others are 100% right, John was one of the worlds best examples of how to be the perfect sporting Dad. We see plenty of poor examples all over sport i n general, but John was the very best example of how to be a sporting parent. So, how about, in John Button’s honor, an annual John Button award for sporting parent of the year? Try to highlight the best ones, and recognise their often titanic contributions to both their kids and their chosen sports? Could something like that be an appropriate, tasteful, positive, worthwhile, memorial?

  65. jeff h says:

    Whenever the cameras were on Mr Button at qualies or during the race, you instantly had a warm comfortable feeling that indeed F1 does have a natural even keel to it. it was wonderful to see a father so supportive and passionate for his son. A call out to all JB fans to wear a pink shirt to the British GP this year! Sympathies to Jensen and family… memories are forever.
    god bless you Mr Button.

  66. Tim R says:

    I’m so very sad to hear the news about John Button and I would like to pass my sincere condolences to Jenson and the whole family.

    I am a big fan of Jenson and have also lost my father recently, who I was very close to, so I have a lot of sympathy for how JB must be feeling right now………I’m also sure the F1 paddock will not be the same without John Button’s infectious smile.

    Thinking of you Jenson.

    1. Hudson says:

      My condolences to you too Tim R. God bless you and your family.

  67. Paige says:

    RIP, John Button.

  68. Quade says:

    May his soul rest in peace. Take heart Jenson.

  69. aveli says:

    socking and sad indeed, he had always presented and smile and friendly waves and gestures every time i saw him him tv. i hope jenson and the rest of his family can find the strength in the near future to cope with such a huge loss.

  70. Richard says:

    Wonderful eulogy, James. I can’t add anything except to say he brightened up my day whenever I saw him on TV during the broadcasts. Such a great personality and a truly infectious smile. I lost my own mum 15 years ago today, on the 13th Jan ’99, and it feels pretty shit! All my thoughts go to Jens and his family.

  71. cos says:

    Jenson you may have lost your Father but you can be rest assured he passed on, a proud man …I will never forget his massive smile…and how immensely proud he was when you won the World Driver’s Championship.
    Rest in Peace a truly great father

  72. Gudien says:

    Wonderful article, James.

    As in every challenge there is opportunity and perhaps Jenson can now step out and be the complete man, with Jessica’s help, he should be.

  73. Rishi says:

    RIP John Button and I send my condolences to Jenson and his family.

    A warm tribute by James about a man who was passionate about the sport and was both very supportive and very proud of his son. A reminder, too, of the sacrifices parents choose to make to help their young ones reach the pinnacle of their chosen profession.

  74. JimmiC says:

    Deepest sympathies to the Button family. From my armchair, having never met the man, he seemed like a really great guy in the Prof Sid Watkins mold – both irreverent and deadly serious about the job, a raconteur of anecdotes and yet family coming first. I’m glad he was able to see Jenson win the championship, and I’m sure there will be tears if Jenson wins a race this season.

  75. Andrew Burley says:

    I think we should have a call to all F1 fans and the British media to all wear a pink shirt on race day at the first Gp this year as a tribute to John and as a sign of all our thoughts and support for Jenson. RIP john button an English gentleman

  76. McHarg123 says:

    Thoughts are with Jenson and his family at this tough time.

  77. M Wishart says:

    A very sad moment for Jenson and I feel that the sadness will hang over him for a long time.

    I had the pleasure of working in the same place as my own father for a few years and understand in a very small way that now that John will not be around Jensons work place any more, there will be moments when he will look around expecting to see his dad to be there and realise he is not.

    It will be so hard as he was there for every moment with Jenson.

    I wish you all the luck for the future and will be thinking of you through out the season.

    Here’s hoping McClaren have nailed a great car and you can win once again for your father.

    Good luck.

  78. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

    Makes me want to see my old man now, tell him he’s the best, happy son and dad together is tremendous, sorry for your loss Jenson, happy you two rocked it together as you did though, especially in 2009.

  79. Elie says:

    Condolences to Jenson and the Button family, may he rest in peace.Its not every day you see someone on the tele and immediately ‘connect’ with. He seemed genuinely good and free spirited, cheerful guy something you can see a little of in Jenson. Its quite obvious what the F1 paddock saw in him and Im sure he will be sorely missed.

  80. DB4Tim says:

    It is so good he had times with his father that meant so much….not all can say that….live long and remember

  81. John says:

    John Button always struck me as a ‘good guy’. So I’m sorry to see him go. Condolences to the Button family.

  82. A very sad day for the Button Family – and for F1 as a whole.

    My wife and I met John Button at Autosport International a few years ago while we were visiting from Canada. F1 Magazine was taking questions from the crowd for Jenson and I was picked to ask the last question. After some interesting dialogue with Jenson I turned around and John Butotn was standing there in the crowd. We moved over and spoke with him for a while, got a nice picture with him, and he was an absolutely lovely man who was clearly very proud of his son – and rightly so. The F1 Paddock will be a lesser place without him and our thoughts go out to Jenson and to his family.

    We will wear a pink shirt today in his honour!

    Tim & Jayne Stanfield
    Kelowna, BC, Canada

  83. Peter says:

    One of the true characters of the sport. Very sad to hear this news. RIP John.

  84. John in SD says:

    Very sad to hear. Condolences to the Button family.

  85. colin says:

    RIP, John Button.

  86. Marty says:

    Rest in Peace John and deepest condolences to the Button family. I’ll miss seeing that huge smile and jovial personality from the paddock.
    Fantastic insight James and much appreciated, thank-you.

  87. eff1osaurus says:

    Every Sunday you’d see the “pink shirt” on the Tv, with a big smile on his face, enjoying life and the moment.

    Heartfelt condolences to Jenson and the family.

    If i may make a sugestion, why can the paddock not all don a pink shirt as a sign of respect on the 1st race day…i know i will.

    rest in peace John Button.

  88. Agent Orange says:

    Came as a shock to me and my deepest condolences to Jenson and his family.

    I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold it together when the camera pans to Jenson on the grid in Australia in a couple of months.

  89. Shaboopi says:

    This is so sad. 70 is far too young nowadays. Everyone please look after yourselves and at least John is in a better place now.

  90. JohnBt says:

    Condolences to Jenson and Family.

    John, the man with his trademark pink shirt and smiles is what I will remember him for.

  91. Paul D says:

    Met John at Goodwood one year and what struck me was he seemed to have time for everyone and talked to everyone with the same level of respect regardless of whether they were a fan or a CEO sitting in the Dunhill drivers club. This is a wonderful human quality.

    As Jenson was walking to his car in the Paddock, there was security around him due to the big crowds. One young boy was standing there holding out his cap he was hoping to get signed and Jenson missed him in the rush.

    The young boy started crying after Jenson had gone and John spotted this lad as he was following Jenson down to the paddock a few yards behind. He asked for the cap, took it down to Jenson, got it signed and then brought it back to the lad, who by this point had the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen!

    The F1 paddock has lost a bloody good bloke.

    1. James Allen says:

      The point in your first para is spot on and very true

  92. Johnpierre says:

    I have to echo what everyone else has already said. Sad for the sport, may he rest in peace and what a lovely post. Thank you for the words. Mr. Allen

  93. Matt W says:

    I have to admit I found the TV coverage of him in 99 a tad annoying, but he always came across as a very nice chap and devoted father. He always gave EJ a good run for his money in the shirt department too!

    Thoughts are with Jenson, they seemed very close and this sounds like a bit of a shock so I wish their family well.

    1. Matt W says:

      Sorry I meant 2009!

  94. Hudson says:

    What sad news. Feeling for Jenson right now, and the rest of the family. Mr Button Snr was a refreshing presence on the F1 paddock. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but when Jenson won his first Grand Prix I am sure it was John Button who said something to the effect of “Winning a Grand Prix feels better than sex.” He made us laugh, but I think he was right!
    RIP Mr John Button.

  95. Supersi says:

    Truly shocked to hear this sad news.
    John was one of the nice guys in the paddock.
    He will be missed but not forgotten.
    Many simpathies to the Button camp.

  96. Al says:

    Great guy, great article, great loss.

    My regards to all the Buttons.

  97. Richard says:

    Nice personal touch to the article of the loss of a seemingly very genuine man. Speaks volumes of the bond there must have been between John and Jenson. My own father was aloof and too busy following his own ambition to have much time for his children so I can inversely appreciate the depth of loss that Jenson and his family must feel. Personally John Button was just someone who we knew to be Jenson’s father that was interviewed by the press from time to time usually when Jenson had a good result or some change had taken place. One can only wish his family and friends the most sincere condolences for a man that really died too young.

  98. Jim says:

    Rest in Peace John, I for one, will continue to support your son.

    Nicely written piece James, you got it bang on…

  99. Scott D says:

    My deepest sympathies to Jenson and his family. At least John lived to see his son crowned world champion, and few dad’s will ever know what that feels like. Time to grieve, but also to celebrate his life.

  100. Harvey says:

    Condolences to the family, very sad news. We should all hold up a finger signifying #1 in his memory.

  101. Mike J says:

    Thank you James for a great tribute.
    Will not forget his presence around the F1 family. His impact and smile will not be forgotten.
    Thoughts for Jenson and the family.

  102. Edward says:

    RIP John – condolences to all the Button family. He seemed like a man that truly enjoyed life.

  103. Andrew Mellentin says:

    I worked J & J at the Williams F1 test team.
    We have lost a good man, a man that I think enjoyed life and gave his boy a lot of that life.

    RIP John Button

  104. Carl says:

    Deepest condolences to Jenson Button and his family.

  105. A great guy and a very lucky man…as he said, he lived the dream. He saw his dream come true. And not many of us can say that. One left having met John richer. And I was with him Friday evening in Monaco, enjoying the type of evening where the following morning is a challenge and he was a happy, fulfilled, satisfied and content man with a smile on his face. I will always celebrate Johns life and will remember him fondly as someone I was lucky enough to call a friend.

  106. Luke Dalton says:

    Rest in Peace John xx

  107. John Fish says:

    Just learnt this evening of the very sad news. A real shock. He will be missed at each Grand Prix. I will miss the Pink shirts. I will wear one tomorrow to work in memory. My deepest sympathies to the Button family. Rest in Peace John. His spirit and love of life will continue to grace the world of Formula One.

  108. Drew says:

    So sad to hear the news and condolences to the button family…
    Now go out and win it again for him jenson

  109. Michael says:

    James,
    Me and 3 other Aintree Circuit Club Members had the great pleasure of bumping into John in the Pit Lane at the Monaco Historique in 2010..he was strolling along by himself..I was upstairs in what would be Jenson’s pit garage having a nose around! We chatted with him for over half an hour, reminiscing about his rallycross days at Aintree and a great chat about all things F1. A truly super bloke who will be very sadly missed. We had our picture taken with him in front of said garage…takes on a special place in time now.

  110. Truth or Lies says:

    Condolences to Jenson Button and family at this very difficult time.

    Lovely tribute piece. John Buttons big smile and pink shirts will be sadly missed from our tv screens in future.

    May he rest in peace.

  111. Andrew Cruse says:

    Monaco 2001, there with my son Jenson, 9 years old. JB was in his debut year. Saw him on a boat in the harbour. Even though he had only finished qualifying a couple of hours ealier, he took the time to come onto the dock and meet my Jenson…take a picture with him and give him a signed copy of F1 magazine, of which he was on the cover that month. He was gracious then as a 21 yr old…and he has grown into a man who gains respect for who he is, and not just the fact he is a great driver. RIP John, your character and love for your son is evident in him being such a wonderful man. Andrew and Jenson Cruse, Phoenix, AZ, USA.

  112. Nicely put James. Sad news. RIP.

  113. Crys says:

    Such sad news. John was a lovely man.

    Beautifully said, Jame.

    Condolences to the Button family.

  114. Jenson, our hearts go out to you and your family, as everyone above has shared. While you will probably never get ‘over’ his passing (from my own experience), your Dad will always be with you in the wisdom and grace which he has shared with you and with the world. As you move forward his presence will guide you – often without your knowing. Godspeed.

    Thank you James, very well done.

  115. McRocket says:

    Very nice tribute James Allen…I would expect nothing less from you.

  116. Ori says:

    Always a smile on his face and upbeat. John and Jenson were a class act. Heart goes out sincerely to
    Jensen and family. A really missed character when the F1 is on in future.

  117. For sure says:

    Sincere condolences to Jenson and his family.
    Never a fan of Jenson, but I hope that man gets stronger after such a loss.

  118. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    RIP he was also great for me, always good humored, even if I don’t really like pink shirts…

  119. Gaz Boy says:

    Just saw the funeral of John today, with Jenson and sisters Tanya, Natasha and Samantha hurting like hell yet still intensely proud of their. wonderful dad. I have posted a comment earlier on, but James if you don’t mind I’d like to post some more comments. I always thought John should have had the surname Bull as he reminded of John Bull: cheery, honest, sensible, reliable, straight talking, down to earth, courageous, courteous. John was my favourite Formula 1 father; John was never intrusive, he allowed and respected the team and Jenson to get on with their duties and perform to the best of their ability. Never interfere, but always be there for a bit of advice and a bit of moral support. I know you’re up there John, watching down on us mere mortals. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: thank you John for gifting Formula 1 and the British Formula 1 industry your truly brilliant and wonderful son. Jenson’s performance at Germany 2000 at the old flat out blast at Hockenhiem, where at the end of the race on a wet greasy track he was lapping upto an amazing FOUR seconds faster that his rivals made me realise than this 20 year old kid was something truly special; from that day on I knew Jenson was made of the right stuff to become world champion. But of course, Jenson always had the right stuff; John had passed onto Jenson that vital ingredient that is the difference for a driver to become world championship: mental fortitude, the ability not to let pressure consume you and deliver performances race in, race out. No disrespect to Mark Webber, but his crash at Korea 2010 and his detuned performance at Abu Dhabi 2010 showed he was psychologically breaking under the pressure put on up Sebastian. World champions don’t buckle under pressure, as at Jackie Stewart often says “it’s the top two inches that make the difference in a racing driver.” And I’m sure John is up there, smiling down, remembering the good times, not just the championship in the summer of 2009, but the other remarkable performances that Jenson put in over the years. Jenson’s performances at Germany 2004, Hungary 2006, Brazil 2009 and Canada 2011 are some of the greatest in modern day Formula 1 history, and all four races will go down as the most astonishing and thrilling grand prix of all time. So thank you John. Your wonderful son has enriched all us mere mortals with his exploits over the years. From the bottom of my heart, I will miss you John but your legacy is written in history. Jenson and John Button: WORLD CHAMPIONS!
    P.S James, thought your essay above on John was lovely, simple, heartfelt,a great tribute to a great man.

  120. Arjan H says:

    Shocked at this moment…I only just heard of John’s passing. Feel terrible right now during 3rd practice GP Australia….I somehow already missed this man’s great character, I loved his presence ..a real father! God bless him

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