Jenson Button remained tight-lipped about his Formula One future amid reports he would announce his retirement from the sport in Japan.
“Since the last race there’s no more information to give you”, he said. “So you’re going to have to wait for a little while I’m sorry to say”. We’re in good talks the team and myself.
The McLaren-Honda driver was running inside the top ten when he pulled into the garage with a gearbox issue last weekend, but feels it will be far harder this weekend to match that position, especially with the under-powered Honda engine, on a circuit the Spaniard describes as deserving its “legendary status” tag. We are a team and we have to deliver the best we can.
McLaren holds the option on Button’s services for 2016, which is believed to expire at the end of the month, and thus has the final say over whether he continues.
“If you’re fighting near the back, you’re driving an F1 vehicle, but you can easily get joy driving something else”.
But Button, who made his F1 debut for the Williams team in 2000, insisted McLaren’s issues could still be resolved, despite there being no clear sign that next year’s model would offer him and Spanish team-mate Fernando Alonso any improvement.
“The joy of being in the auto is only there if you’re fighting at the front”, said the 2009 champion this week. “It is always nice to make an announcement when you are at your home grand prix, but I don’t know what’s happening yet”. He’s a big character, he’s quick and he deserves to be a champion.
Author and journalist Maurice Hamilton also agreed the 35-year-old would be missed as much for his personality off the track as his undoubted calibre on it.
“There are so many possibilities about what could happen next year”, he said.
“I don’t like finishing 14th”.
Sadly it looks unlike that Button will experience that “joy” again in Formula One, with little prospect of McLaren surging back up the grid in 2016. They will give everything to win the world championship – it is, I think, a matter of time.
Rosberg, who is now only eight points ahead of Vettel, said: “He is a threat and we are keeping an eye on him and Ferrari in general, because they have been very strong at times this year”.