JENSON BUTTON: He's indicated he might not stay with McLaren even if the Formula 1 team offers him a contract extension for 2015.Image: AFP
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Jenson Button has indicated he might not stay with McLaren even if the Formula 1 team offers him a contract extension for 2015.
With speculation swirling about his future, and reports already suggesting the 2009 F1 champion is about to retire, Button said no decision had been made but he had plenty of options.
He added that it made little difference whether the decision came before or after the end of the season and was clear that he did not want to stay in F1 if there was no chance to win races.
The 34-year-old has said previously that he wanted to stay with McLaren, which has been closely linked to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and will be in a new partnership with Honda in 2015, if the chance were there but he appeared to signal a shift on Thursday (Nov 6) when talking to reporters ahead of the Brazilian F! GP.
Asked whether he would stay if McLaren asked him to, after all the uncertainty, the Briton said: "That is a good question that I cannot answer at this moment. 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.
"Whether it's racing, whether it's 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."
Button, who won his 2009 title at Interlagos, is the most experienced driver on the grid and has won 16 races since his debut in 2000 with Williams.
'IT'LL BE A HUGE CHALLENGE'
Whatever happened, he said, he was not about to retire or disappear from motor sport. "F1 is a huge part of my life. It is not going to stop," he said. "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.
"I'm definitely going to be in the sport in some shape or form - it's going to be a huge challenge and it's very exciting."
Button said he would relish being Alonso's team mate, just as he did when up against Lewis Hamilton at McLaren from 2010-12, but the team has not won a race since the last battle of their partnership of champions, with Button triumphant in Brazil at the end of 2012.
Alonso was second in that race.
'AGE IS NOT A FACTOR'
Button added: "That's what I miss more than anything else right now, that fighting for the win, that is probably the most difficult thing at this moment in time, that we cannot challenge for wins. If I am in F1 next year I have to be winning. That's what I am here to do and the previous two years have not been like that.
"The first three years with McLaren were amazing, challenging for wins. We didn't quite win the championship but it was a mega-challenge. The previous two years have been tough; in 2015, if I am in F1, I want to be winning races."
Button said age was not a factor; he was as fit as he had ever been and still loved racing.
"I am still a racing driver who has won a championship and wants to achieve a lot more in motorsport. I'll probably have a couple of drinks if it (Abu Dhabi) 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 because my career's not over, whichever way it goes."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Brazilian F1 GP weekend.