Jenson Button has received an important backer in his quest to stay in Formula 1 for 2015 and beyond.
Former team-mate and the new world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on McLaren boss Ron Dennis to retain the 34-year-old for a sixth year with the team.
The support comes as both of the 2014 drivers' future's are hanging in the balance. With Fernando Alonso set to be confirmed at the start of next month, the delay is due to the decision over whether Button or Kevin Magnussen, fresh from a solid rookie season, shall partner him.
McLaren stalwart Dennis, also put the suggestion, to Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle that another driver was in the fold for the second race seat for the rebirth of the McLaren - Honda partnership.
While his championship win should quell any suggestions of a shock return for Lewis Hamilton, another young prospect, Belgium's Stoffel Vandoorne, who is currently driving in the post-season test in Abu Dhabi in a Honda-powered developmental version of the 2014 car, has been mentioned.
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Button has proved his credentials
Certainly if the 2009 champion needed to prove his credentials to be considered as part of what would be a high-profile pairing of Button and Alonso, then his results towards the end of the season gave plenty of justification.
Eight top eight finishes in the last 11 races and only poor luck costing him good results in another two highlighted that Button is not only consistent, something we have known for years, but remains just as quick.
He ended the season 71 points clear of Magnussen, who also offered consistency but not quite the same raw pace as the Briton.
'A valuable asset'
Of course speed is only part of the consideration process for who McLaren and Honda will put behind the wheel in 2015, with cost and potential for the longer term potentially swaying bosses in favour of the 22-year-old Dane, but for Hamilton, he believes his compatriot still has more to offer the Woking-based team.
"Jenson's been in Formula One for a long time, he's had an exceptional career, and he's still young," the Mercedes driver told the Daily Mail.
"But he (Button) has proven time and again he is still a worthy competitor and a valuable asset for any team to have." - Lewis Hamilton
"On Sunday he drove incredibly well to bring a McLaren up to fifth, and with a great driver (Magnussen) alongside him who wasn't able to do the same with the same car.
"I guess it (Dennis' situation) just highlights how limited Formula One is. There are only 18 or 20 seats," he added.
"But he (Button) has proven time and again he is still a worthy competitor and a valuable asset for any team to have."
An all-star line-up?
Indeed Hamilton concluded by claiming his former boss Dennis will make the right call for the team and go with what would be largely perceived as an all-star line-up.
"I've known Ron for a long, long time and he is passionate about racing," he said.
"I'm sure he'll make the smart decision, and for me, building a team to target being champions you need to have star quality drivers.
"There are only a handful of those and Jenson's one of them."
Former rival urges WEC switch
Hamilton's remarks have largely echoed the sentiment throughout the F1 community as fans have been left unhappy at the juncture Button has had to deal with, there is, however, one man who has told the most experienced British driver in the sport's history that he should consider walking away.
Mark Webber made the move from Formula 1 to the WEC for 2014, teaming with Porsche as the German carmaker made its return to prototype sports cars, he has been very critical of the modern F1 model with DRS and degrading tyres.
With speculation linking the series as Button's most likely option outside of F1, the Australian has admitted he would love to welcome him to endurance racing and replied to a tweet from Button himself regarding his future saying: "Matey just sign that sports car contract and get on with it. Be mega to have you with/against us next year."
Which way Button will go in 2015 remains undecided, but regardless of whether it is the WEC or Formula 1, one series will gain or keep one of the most respected drivers in recent history at the expense of the other.
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