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Loyal Button yearns for Honda

2013-09-05 08:43

SITTING TIGHT: McLaren driver Jenson Button says there's no doubt of his loyalties to his current team, but hopes for a seat beyond 2014 to work with engine partner Honda again in 2015. Image: AFP


McLaren driver Jenson Button hopes to sit tight with his current team beyond 2014 when Honda takes up its role as engine partner in 2015.

LONDON, England - Jenson Button says he wants to be at McLaren until at least 2015 so he can team up with Honda again when the Japanese company returns as engine partner to the former Formula 1 World champion team.

The 2009 champion still does not have a signed contract for 2014, although both sides have made clear they want to continue together and Button has said he intends to see out his F1 career there.


Talks have focused on the length of the extension with Button thinking well beyond 2014, when McLaren will still be powered by Mercedes and a new V6 engine is introduced in a major shake-up of the rules.

Button told reporters ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at which the team will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their founding by New Zealander Bruce McLaren: "I want to be here in 2015. That is an important year, I think."

"I've worked for many years with that Japanese engine manufacturer, it will be exciting to work with them again in the future."

He spent six years in Honda-powered cars, first with the BAR outfit that became the Honda team, and secured his first victory in F1 with them in Hungary in 2006.

McLaren were at their most dominant with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in Honda-powered cars in 1988 and 1989.

The Monaco-based Button has a Japanese girlfriend and regards Tokyo as a home away from home.

Although he has been linked in media speculation to Ferrari, where Brazilian Felipe Massa's place is under renewed scrutiny, Button left no doubt that his loyalties were firmly with McLaren despite a tough season.

The team have finished no higher than fifth in 11 races so far and a podium place, let alone a victory, looks a tall order even if it cannot be ruled out.


"I am loyal. In the past sometimes I haven't been," said the Briton.

"I think if you are with a smaller team that you can't see a future with, it's the right thing to always look for something better. But when you are with a team like this with the future that this team has, this is a very exciting opportunity for any driver.

"I know that Red Bull has had a great run for the last few years but it will stop," added Button. "I think when you are in a top team, any of the three or four top teams, it's better to stay put for the near future. But especially for me because I really do feel happy here."

Button, who will be the second oldest driver in the sport next season after Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, expected McLaren to come back strongly in 2014.

"I am really excited about 2015 but first of all we've got to look to 2014 and I think we can win the championship with Mercedes-Benz," he said. "There's still a very good partnership there with them and it will be nice to go out on a high."

Button has finished second three times at Monza but that sort of result can hardly be hoped for now and in any case a podium finish would not redeem the season for a team more used to winning.

Despite that, the Briton has not completely ruled out a return to the most hostile podium in the sport at the Italian GP this weekend, with the partisan and passionate Monza crowd regularly booing those who are not wearing Ferrari red.

Button said: "It can happen. But we need wet weather, we need everything on our side to make it happen. We are not quick enough, our outright speed is not there.

"You have those three teams (Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari) that are still fighting for the World championship, they are going to be pushing all the way to the end of the 2013 season whereas for us we're concentrating more on the 2014 car.

"There are parts that will be on this year's car that will also help us in 2014 but we are not designing certain parts for the current car that will be useless next year. We are limiting how much we will move forward this season."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Italian GP weekend.

Read more on:    mclaren  |  honda  |  2013 italian gp  |  jenson button  |  motorsport  |  f1

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