His future in Formula One remains uncertain, but while McLaren continue to delay the announcement of their driver line-up for next season, Jenson Button insists he’s not retiring from motorsport.
The 2009 F1 champion has been in limbo for much of the season, with McLaren confirming they will not make an announcement until December 1.
It is widely expected that outgoing Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso will return to McLaren, where he spent a turbulent year in 2007, with either Button or Danish youngster Kevin Magnussen set to make way.
Speaking on the eve of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Viceroy Hotel in Yas Marina, where Button was appearing at a falconry display event organised by sponsors TAG Heuer, Button admits he is relaxed about his future.
He reacted to a question about how he’d like to be remembered in motor racing by revealing he has no plans to retire, despite what his F1 future holds.
He said: “I don’t want to be remembered yet. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to sit here and say how I’d like to be remembered in the sport because I’m not going anywhere.”
Asked if he’d be returning to Abu Dhabi next season, he said: “Racing? Yes, definitely racing. We have to wait until December for a decision on the other driver but, if I’m in Formula One, I want to be racing a Formula One car. It’s what I’ve done for my whole adult life.”
While Yas Marina Circuit may not have the character of some of the more historic Formula One arenas, Button says the Abu Dhabi circuit has the whole package.
“Every driver will say the circuit probably isn’t the most exciting, a lot of the old circuits are the ones we love, like Spa, Monza, Suzuka, but in terms of a whole package it’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s a great show, this place is pretty awesome. The facilities are pretty fantastic and having the marina around it with the boats adds a bit of spice to the atmosphere. As an all round experience, for spectators coming to watch, it’s one of the best races to come and watch.”
Despite the lingering doubt over his future within F1 and at McLaren, Button insists he’s not stressed by the circumstances: “When I was fighting for the world championship was one of the most stressful times, because you’re never sure if it’s going to happen again, so you give it your all.
“An F1 drivers’ career is full of ups and downs, it’s a real rollercoaster ride but I’m not stressed now, I’m happy. I’m enjoying my racing and looking forward to a good day tomorrow. It’s a very stressful world. It’s great. But very stressful and when it comes to the end of the season you have to enjoy yourself.”
Button has qualified eighth after a difficult weekend racing-wise, including suspension and hydraulic problems in practice, and then an issue with the fuel pump in qualifying yesterday.
But despite it being the last race of the season, Button said he won’t be attending the post-race concerts as the curtain comes down on his 15th campaign in the sport.
He said: “No, I’ll be busy after the race dissecting how the race went. Whether I’m here next year is still something that you do. I will be celebrating something I’m sure.”
Like most other drivers, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the controversial double points rule debuting today, which could cast a shadow over the eventual champion.
He said: “Hopefully it will be the first and last year we see it. It completely changes the championship in an unfair way I feel. It shouldn’t be a showdown. It should be Lewis cruising round, finishing second.”
Unsurprisingly, Button believes his fellow Brit and former team-mate Hamilton deserves to win the championship.
He said: “Yeah, of course. I think he’s done a good job this year. He’s won 10 races to Nico’s five, but Nico’s been more consistent.
“Those two are going to be so far out in front that I feel that the race will come down to whether Lewis challenges for the lead or not.
“If they get through turn one and Lewis sits in second, he’s won the championship, that’s all he needs to do.
“He’s just got to sit pretty and grab the points. He doesn’t need to try anything because he’ll be kicking himself if it goes wrong.”
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