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John Button had success in the 1970s as a rallycross driver, so it was perhaps only natural he would pass on the bug to his son.
Jenson received his first go-kart at the age of eight, a gift from his father. He turned out to have a natural flair for racing and quickly climbed the junior ranks, supported all the way by his dad.
It wasn't an easy ride—karting isn't cheap, and money was often tight. But together the father and son team, with help from sponsors, got all the way to F1.
John was in the garage as Jenson went out for practice at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix, his first-ever F1 race. He was there for Jenson's first podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2004 and his first win at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2006.
Whatever the race, whatever the milestone, he was always there.
A devoted and loving father, John missed only one of Jenson's 247 races. Regularly sought out by the TV cameras, Button senior was instantly recognisable to viewers and a well-known, popular figure the length and breadth of the pit lane.
Jenson spoke many times of the positive impact his father had on his life and career, but this one stands out. He was talking to The Independent about young drivers coming up the junior ranks, and said:
It can be a problem if the father isn't there because the kid can be different than maybe he should be.
The best thing is to have a dad who understands everything, like I did. You can grow quicker without a dad there, perhaps, but maybe you grow up to be something you shouldn't be.
John will be greatly missed.
Several images of John with his rallycross car and Jenson in his first go-karts can be seen here at Bath in Time.