John Button (racing driver)

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Rallycrosser John Button in 1978
John Button pictured during the 2008 Belgian F1 Grand Prix

John Button (27 July 1943 – 12 January 2014) was an English rallycross driver and the father of 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button. His best overall results were both in 1976, as the runner-up in the Embassy/RAC-MSA British Rallycross and TEAC/Lydden Rallycross championships.[1]

Button was born in London.[1] During the 1970s he became well known in the UK for his so-called (because of its striking paintwork) Colorado Beetle Volkswagen with eventually 2.1-litre engine. Later on he competed less successfully for a couple of years in a Volkswagen Golf Mk1 with 1.9-litre engine, run by his own VW-Audi dealership and tuning garage Autoconti of Trowbridge in Wiltshire.

Button, who was nicknamed "Papa Smurf" by his son, gained much airtime during Formula One coverage in 2009 (particularly on the BBC) when Jenson won six out of the first seven races of the season.

Until his death, Button attended every single Grand Prix of his son's career, apart from the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix when he was unable to make it because of illness.[2]

Button died at the age of 70 in his home in the south of France from a suspected heart attack on 12 January 2014.[3]

In memory of the late John Button the organisers of the Retro Rallycross Challenge in 2015 created the so-called John Button Memorial Trophy, which is the annual award presented to the Retro Rallycross Driver of the year. Current holder Ray Morgan met Jenson Button recently at Lydden Hill where John Button's son was able to make a personal presentation of the Trophy.


  1. ^ a b Rallycross Yearbook 1979, by Eddi Laumanns (page 93, John Button portrait)
  2. ^ "Jenson Button's father John dies aged 70". Autosport. Haymarket Publishing. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Jenson Button's father John dies aged 70". ITV News. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 

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