Jenson Button's Helmet Tribute to Father John During McLaren's Test at Jerez

Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterJanuary 29, 2014

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - JANUARY 29:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren exits his team garage to drive the new MP4-29 during day two of Formula One Winter Testing at the Circuito de Jerez on January 29, 2014 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Jenson Button finally got out on track for McLaren on the second day of the first pre-season test in Jerez, Spain, and when he did he had a message to his father John on his crash helmet.

John Button died earlier in the month at the age of 70 but had been a popular and well-known figure in and around Formula One. He had been instrumental in Jenson's breakthrough into the sport.

With his traditional helmet tweaked to depict Papa Smurf, Jenson's message for his father was a simple "RIP Papa," per McLaren Mercedes' official Twitter account:

RIP Papa - a touching memento on the helmet of @JensonButton.

— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 29, 2014

The name is one Jenson had often used for his father—he had written to him on Twitter shortly after his death as he thanked fans for their support:


— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) January 19, 2014

Papa you cannot believe how very proud I feel to be able to call you my Dad. I love you Papa Smurf, you'll forever be in my heart,

— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) January 15, 2014

Button was world champion in 2009 and has subsequently impressed at McLaren, a disappointing 2013 campaign notwithstanding.

The McLaren was back on the top of the timesheets on day two, per Gary Rose of BBC Sport, which is just the way John would have wanted it.