He is yet to bring an end to speculation, but Jenson Button has at least confirmed that if he stays in F1 next year “it will be one hundred percent with McLaren”.
Button’s future is currently one of the most hotly debated topics after it was reported that he “had made his decision” and would announce his retirement from F1 at the Japanese Grand Prix.
When asked about his plans at Suzuka, the 2009 World Champion side-stepped the issue, yet McLaren CEO Jonathan Neale revealed that “they are trying to convince Button to stay” adding that “if your driver doesn’t really want to be in the seat we have to respect that”.
The Woking team’s chief executive Ron Dennis then went a step further saying that he “told Jenson on Thursday – probably too late – that I have no intention of exercising the option [to cancel his contract]”.
However, on Monday Button was linked with the Renault team following confirmation that they will buy a controlling stake in the Lotus team with the Briton “top of their shortlist”.
Button, though, says he if he remains in Formula 1 next year, he will only drive for McLaren.
“It wouldn’t feel right being anywhere else after so many years together,” he is quoted as saying by the official Formula 1 website. “Especially after such a difficult year as we are going through now. That has really bonded us together.
“If I am racing in F1 in 2016, it will be one hundred percent with McLaren. I feel that this team will achieve in the future – I [just] don’t know when that is.”
Button has spent the last 16 seasons on the Formula 1 grid and the veteran admits he has plenty of options should he leave the sport.
“There are a lot of things I can do,” he said. “I am in a lucky position to know that I am at the top of my game. I don’t feel old – if 35 years is old – and I think I am doing a very good job. And when leaving Formula One there are so many things I want to achieve – maybe also in another form of motor racing. But it’s not only racing – there are also other things I’d love to achieve as a sportsman.
“The most important thing from a selfish point of view is being happy – whether I am racing or not,” he added. “But the team has to be happy as well.”