John Button, father of 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, died on Sunday 12 January 2014 from a suspected heart attack. The former British rallycross driver was 70 years old.
Throughout Jenson Button’s career, John has supported his son, attending almost all of his Jenson’s F1 races and becoming something of a pit-lane personality. Scenes of father and son celebrating Jenson’s victories have been a welcome reminder that behind the precision and ruthlessness of Formula One there is a soft, emotional and human side to motor racing.
John Button’s death was sudden and took his family and the racing community by surprise. There was, until four days ago, no reason to suspect that John would not be present in the McLaren pit garage during the 2014 F1 season.
Social media has been full of tributes from teams, drivers and other members of the motor sport community over the last few days. The most touching of them all came from Jenson Button, who tweeted yesterday evening:
“Thank you all for your lovely messages about my Dad, it’s so nice to see he touched so many people. He was such a big part of my life I’m going to miss him so so much.
“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.
“Rest in Peace with the Angels
“Your son XXXX”