TWO-YEAR CONTRACT: McLaren-Honda's Jenson Button is staying with the team in 2016, says boss Ron Dennis. Image: AFP / Andrej Isakovic
Suzuka, Japan - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will continue to race for McLaren in 2016, team boss Ron Dennis said at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday(Sept 27) after both drivers had raised doubts about their Formula 1 futures.
Asked in the Suzuka paddock whether the frustrated world champions would be staying, Dennis replied: "Yes, what more do you want?".
"Jenson has a two-year contract," Dennis told reporters, adding that it would remain unchanged and Button, who has hinted he could retire at the end of the season, was happy with the arrangement.
"I should have taken away any doubt about our commitment to him earlier than I did," continued Dennis, who said he told the 2009 champion on Thursday (Sept 24).
"It would have been more constructive if he had known I had no intention to exercise our option to terminate. We did not put it in there to exercise it and we didn't... I informed Jenson accordingly."
Alonso, who assured reporters on Saturday (Sept 26) he would be at the Honda-powered team in 2016, said after the race that he did not know.
Dennis told reporters he too did not know what the Spaniard was talking about: "I spoke to him earlier today. He has got a contract. He understands the contract. I am surprised at the comment," he said.
In a very public humiliation for Honda at their home circuit, and with the car giant's top bosses attending, Alonso had vented all his frustration with the underperforming engine as he laboured to 11th place - an impressive result in the circumstances.
"I'm being passed down the straights like a GP2 (car). This is embarrassing, very embarrassing," the double champion said over the team radio, referring to F1's less powerful feeder series.
Later, after being passed by Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso, he repeated "GP2 engine, GP2."
Dennis, whose once dominant team are ninth out of 10 in the standings and enduring their worst season with just 17 points, said he understood the Spaniard's frustration but could not condone the outburst.
Dennis said: "It does not show the professionalism that I would like all of our drivers to show. Am I going to go ballistic? No. I will handle it in my own way and my way is not in public."
Button, who finished 16th, had described trying to fend off other cars during the race as being like a "Samurai without his shield or sword".