SAO PAULO: Jenson Button dropped a heavy hint on Thursday (Nov 6) that he is prepared to walk away from McLaren and Formula One at the end of this year.
As the team continues to make no statement on its driver line-up for 2015, leaving the future of 2009 world champion Button and his current team-mate Kevin Magnussen undecided, it has become clear that the British driver is ready to make his own decisions and not wait for an offer.
Two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who was with the team for one acrimonious and unhappy season in 2007, appears set to leave Ferrari at the end of the year with McLaren his most likely destination, but that too remains shrouded in mystery.
Button told reporters at Interlagos on Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, that he could not answer questions about his future with McLaren.
“When you are put in a position that many drivers have been in over the years, not sure if your contract is going to be renewed, it opens your eyes to different challenges and different possibilities,” he said.
“Whether it is racing, whether it is doing another sport, or something different altogether, for me I am excited about the challenges ahead.
“I have a lot that I am excited about, a lot of different ideas, whether it is for next year or the year after. This is a massive part of my life – F1 and motor racing has been – and it is not going to stop. It will continue.
“But I don’t know where that is going to be right now. But I never feel like I am being pushed out of the sport, because I will definitely be in the sport in some shape or form. And it is going to be massively exciting.”
Putting a brave face on a situation in which it appears to most observers that he has been treated without any respect, he added: “This is F1 and there are many things to be disappointed about in the sport.”
And he added a sting in the tail when he went on to say: “If you don’t have a quick car (for example) – I’m a world champion and I want to win Grands Prix. “So, if you don’t have a quick car you are disappointed. For me, that is the bit that hurts more than anything else.”
He made it clear, too, that he does not care when McLaren choose to make their decision on the 2015 line-up. “For McLaren, I guess at some point a decision needs to be taken,” he said.
“For me personally, either way, whether it is done in the next two weeks or not, it doesn’t make any difference. So – no issue for me.” And, he added: “People always think of it as retiring, but I am not retiring. Whatever I do next year, I am not retiring.
“I am still a racing driver who has won a world championship and wants to go and achieve a lot more in motorsport, so I will probably have a couple of drinks if it is my last race in F1, with friends and family. “But I don’t feel I have to have a big thing made of my career, whichever way it goes.”
For the record, now 34, Button has competed in 264 Grands Prix, won 15, taken eight pole positions and took the world title in 2009. He made his debut in 2000.