The long-awaited confirmation has arrived. Jenson Button will drive for McLaren in 2014 after he revealed on Thursday the deal is done.
Button had delivered a series of positive updates on negotiations regarding his current team, but Sky Sports reports an agreement has finally been reached:
The former world champion confessed on Wednesday he had been the chief reason for the delay over his future, but revealed McLaren's support had never wavered, per Dieter Rencken and Sam Tremayne of Eurosport:
I don't think I have to worry about the team wanting me here. They want me, I want to be here, so it will happen; it's just a matter of time.
I feel like a big part of this team and I feel we are good together. I feel very embedded in this team. I would definitely miss being here and they'd definitely miss me being here as well.
In truth, of all drivers on the 2013 circuit, Button’s name was one of those least expected to switch allegiances ahead of the 2014 campaign.
While Ferrari has confirmed the high-profile capture of Kimi Raikkonen, and uncertainty remains over the futures of Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg, it was always expected Button would commit to McLaren.
However, a nagging doubt had risen from last month’s Belgian Grand Prix, when it filtered into the media spotlight that McLaren had yet to activate an option in Button’s contract to extend his stay for another year.
Button has retained a relaxed outlook, though, and Rachel Brookes of Sky Sports delivered the significant update after speaking with the Brit on Thursday.
McLaren is yet to make the news official with a team statement, and Button was hesitant to use the term “official” until that development occurs. However, his own confirmation will allay any lingering doubts over which seat he will occupy next term.
Button is currently ninth in the World Drivers' Championship on 48 points. The big remaining question surrounds the length of his stay.
Honda will return in 2015 to provide engines, but it remains unclear if Button will stay around for that chapter of McLaren’s future.
Certainly his relationship with the team is one of respect, thanks to the Brit's willingness to promote the brand despite its struggles on the track, but Button deserves a more competitive car next year.