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Stay? Retire? Button's F1 future wobbly

2014-08-29 10:33

BUTTON TO BE OUSTED? Jenson Button's future in F1 could be doubt as he faces being replaced at McLaren.Image: AP / Lai Seng Sin

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Jenson Button's Formula 1 future is looking increasingly uncertain since McLaren boss Ron Dennis said on Thursday (August 28) that he was keeping an eye on other leading drivers who might become available.

Button has been at McLaren since 2010 and is in the final year of a contract.

The 34-year-old, winner of 15 GP's, is the most experienced driver in F1, having made his debut in 2000, and is eighth in the championship with 68 points. Rookie team mate Kevin Magnussen has scored only 37 but out-qualified Button repeatedly and, at 21, is seen as a face of the future.

'EXCELLENT BLEND'

Dennis told the official formula1.com website he was satisfied with the current line-up and both were capable of winning in a competitive car - which McLaren has been unable to provide so far in 2014.

Despite that, the team needed to "be responsible enough to appreciate that McLaren will always make efforts to hire the best drivers. Jenson and Kevin represent an excellent blend of capable experience and youthful promise, and we're very happy with both of them".

"The fact that we're keeping an eye on what a few other drivers are up to in no way contradicts that... if opportunities arise we'll appraise them - we always have and we always will."

FERRARI LINK?

Media reports have repeatedly linked McLaren to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who had an unhappy season with the team alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and fell out with Dennis.

Alonso is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2016 but there are likely to be performance clauses in the small print.

Ferrari, which has not won a Drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen scored in 2007, is third in the Constructors' points but only 10 clear of a resurgent Williams in fourth.

McLaren hasn't won a race since 2012 and failed to reach the podium at all in 2013.

HONDA RETURNING

However, Honda is returning to the sport as McLaren's engine partner in 2015 and, while Button has close ties to the automaker and to Japan, it said it would be pushing for an "A- List" driver.

Asked whether McLaren would be prepared to "move mountains" to get itts man, whoever he might be, Dennis replied: "That depends on whether you respect drivers' contracts or not. I do."

Button recognised after the 2014 Belgian GP that his future was up in the air. He told the BBC: "If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it but I feel I have so much more to give and I can't imagine life without motorsport and especially F1."

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier was noncommittal about 2015 and Button's place in the team's plans. "We have discussions open with him but until we have decided on our strategy we will not finalise our drivers."
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Read more on:    mclaren  |  jenson button  |  england  |  motorsport  |  formula 1

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