Button’s future uncertain

The 35-year-old McLaren driver, the second oldest driver currently in the sport, is weighing up whether he will go around again next year or end a 16-year career in which he won the 2009 World Championship.

Jenson Button... "There are so many things I want to do in the future I can’t just narrow it down to commentating on Formula One.”   -  REUTERS

McLaren driver Jenson Button in a virtual simulator during a publicity event ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.   -  REUTERS

Jenson Button says his Formula One future is close to being decided and if he does race on next season, it will only be with his beloved McLaren.

The 35-year-old, the second oldest driver currently in the sport, is weighing up whether he will go around again next year or end a 16-year career in which he won the 2009 World Championship.

“We’re not there yet,” he told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. “It’s always a difficult situation when you’ve had such a long career in Formula One, but also such a long career with a certain team, with McLaren.

“Whichever way it goes it’s not an easy decision but hopefully over the next few weeks we can let you know.”

Button’s future has been the source of some speculation after a frustrating season in an uncompetitive Honda-engined car, in which he has finished just seven of the first 12 races, with a best position of eighth.

But Button, who joined McLaren in 2010 and a year after he won the world title with Brawn, said any indecision was not related to the team’s performance this season.

“I can’t give you too many details but away from whose decision it is, obviously you have to look at where you are in your life,” he said.

“I’ve been racing in Formula One for a long time and I’ve still got a massive love for motor racing and Formula One.

“If I am racing in Formula One next year and in the future I want to be with McLaren. It’s a team I’ve spent so many years with, gone through some great times and bad times as well,” added the Briton.

“I definitely want to be here, but there’s just things we need to talk over and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Some media speculation earlier in the season had linked Button to a return to Williams, where he made his debut in 2000, but that possibility ended when the former World champions announced an unchanged line-up for 2016.

With other top teams also opting for continuity, Button’s future has moved into focus with McLaren also committed to bringing on Danish reserve Kevin Magnussen and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.

Regardless of whether he drives next year or not, Button, who married last year, said he would want to stay involved in the sport, possibly working with television, when the time did come.

“I love the sport and there are so many areas of the sport where I think the public still don’t see or don’t quite understand what’s going on because we have made it very complex and quite complicated,” he said.

“So I definitely feel I could help out in that situation and I think it would be quite fun as well.

“When you listen to journos, they’re always getting the wrong end of the stick so it’d be nice to really show people the way Formula One is from a driver’s point of view.

“But there are so many things I want to do in the future I can’t just narrow it down to commentating on Formula One.”

Button’s immediate concern was the Singapore Grand Prix and he said he was hopeful of a good finish because of the tight street circuit.

The only two races where Button has scored points this year, Monaco and Hungary, were both slow circuits, where outright speed is less important.

“It’s still not great, (just) scoring points, that’s not our aim but at least you can be amongst the pack and you can fight whereas the last couple of races we just drive round the back,” he said.

“So, yes it’s a lot more interesting. I think low speed corners are our strength, high speed corners we’re still not bad, but low speed corners is our strength.

“So it should be a good circuit for us here and I can’t wait to drive the car and see where it stands.”