Jenson Button, McLaren, Silverstone, 2015

Button says he’ll be “happy next year” but isn’t ready to announce plans

2015 F1 season

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Jenson Button declined to end speculation on his plans for 2016 during today’s FIA press conference in Japan but told reporters “I’ll be happy next year.”

Following last week’s race in Singapore Button spoke of how he wasn’t taking the same “joy” from F1 that he used.

“I don’t think any driver has joy when not fighting for victories,” Button explained when asked about the quote today. “It is the challenge of fighting at the front and the possibility of fighting at the front.”

Porsche 919, 2015
Button said he wouldn’t run a dual F1 and WEC campaign
“I don’t like finishing 14th or finishing 10th, that is not what gives me joy or excites me, but there are so many things that if they work in your favour or you see a future, then there is the possibility of joy coming back.

“After the Singapore GP I wasn’t joyful.”

Button said he has “many possibilities” for next season but told the media “I can’t give you anything else since the last race.”

“There is no more information to give you – you are going to have to wait a bit. We are in good talks, the team and myself. That is it.”

“We are here to concentrate on this weekend,” he added, “it is a big weekend, McLaren-Honda in front of Honda’s home circuit, we hope we have a good weekend.”

Button has been linked to a potential move to the World Endurance Championship but he denied he might tackle part of that championship alongside a full F1 campaign, as Nico Hulkenberg has done this year.

“I’ve never thought about doing both,” he said. “I think with a 22-race F1 calendar you’re going to be very limited on weekends. And sometimes it’s nice to have a weekend off from motor racing, so I can’t see that happening.”

“Maybe Nico’s going to be doing the same thing again next year but I think for every other driver it’s going to be a super-busy calendar if that is the case, we have that many races. I don’t think it’ll work – for me it wouldn’t work.”

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Button says he’ll be “happy next year” but isn’t ready to announce plans”

  1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    24th September 2015, 8:21

    Sounds promising for continuing in F1! Fingers crossed he does!

    1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
      24th September 2015, 18:55

      Quite the opposite here; I wish he would just make a decision, and inform the world.
      Enough drama last year!

      Even on the the McLaren option he could say: “dear Ron, if you don’t take up the option by x date, then count me out!”

  2. This is all getting a bit annoying now. Do something already and move on. Stay, go, it’s all the same to me but this interminable grinding on of speculation & rumour just drains people’s enthusiasm…

    1. I think this situation is because Button and McLaren are waiting for his contact option to lapse, supposedly at the end of this month. They will then sign a new contract for less money due to their loss from reduced TV money. His contract is due to increase from £8mil to £12mil. McLaren probably can’t afford it due to their dismal performance.

      1. I actually think this all sounds quite plausible. Why would he say that he is in good talks with McLaren if they had nothing to offer him or he already decided to leave. I think this is the most likely story I have heard.
        It could also be sponsorship related. Maybe they are talking money and the price of keeping Jenson on being linked to some sponsorship deal coming good.

    2. It’s up to Button how long he takes, not you, and for you to claim you speak for everyone is rather arrogant.

      1. Well, I am a Baron….

        1. Not even remotely funny, imo…

    3. Silly season has barely started yet, and you’re already complaining?!

    4. No. He should take his time and make sure he makes the right move.

  3. Button sounds like hes happy, which for me means hes leaning towards a final decision. I don’t expect that to be in F1. The Sport will be poorer without him. Good on him, he can go on to bigger and better things. Mclaren isn’t the place to be at this stage of his career

  4. I think McLaren have now officially become the most annoying F1 team in history. They seem inexorably caught up in a web of failure..

    1. You should have tried being a Ferrari fan in the 80’s and 90’s, or a Williams fan from 98. Those were/are some seriously long periods of underperforming !

  5. We know the decision has been made, and we have a pretty good idea what it is. And why do we know what it is? Because it would be so incontrovertibly logical:

    a) Button can win in 2016, he just needs to realize that it will happen in the 919 and not the MP4-31

    b) Button can boost his status as a driver even after he leaves F1 – a Le Mans win would sit very nicely with his Monaco Grand Prix victory and his ’09 championship

    c) His race-focused skill set is perfectly suited to a WEC career – the sportscar press are certainly adamant that Jenson is going to Porsche

    d) McLaren no longer need him – Alonso provides comparable levels of experience, and McLaren desperately need to clear their backlog of future stars

    e) Jenson can be more famous than ever – he just needs turn up at Dunsfold aerodrome every now and then…

  6. I can see Button retire at the end of this year, and the likes of Alonso, Raikkonen and Massa retire at the end of next year.

    In which case, Hamilton and Rosberg will be the 2 oldest and most experienced drivers on the grid. That feels really odd.

    1. @kingshark It does seem odd and once again makes the rest of us realise just how much older we are getting.

      And when you think back to 2006 when Schumacher announced his retirement it looked like we were entering a period of Alonso and Raikkonen (with Alonso having already emerged to challenge Schumacher towards the end of his career) with drivers like Massa lined up to play a future role too. Now we can look back almost a decade on and find that between them they managed a single championship in a period dominated by two drivers who were then yet to race in F1.

      1. :D Hamilton rulez, Vettel rulez!

      2. @jerseyf1
        Another thing I noticed is that the “new talent” pool from 2003-2009 was fairly shallow. Apart from Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg there isn’t a single driver who began his career between those 7 years and is still racing today (and those 3 are all in the prime age of their careers). By contrast, we still have 4 drivers from the 2000-2002 era (Alonso, Button, Raikkonen, Massa).

        1. Hamilton and Vettel came early because of their talent and support. They are the same generation with guys like Hulkenberg, Perez, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Bottas and unfortunately (?) Maldonado. Well, Rosberg and Hamilton, along with Maldonado might be a bit older than others, but take Hulkenberg and Vettel. They are same age, same country, same lots of things. But they didn’t come together. It happens.

    2. That really feels odd. It feels like only yesterday people were talking about the mega rookie Lewis and STR’s baby-Schumi. Now they’re among the most experienced drivers on the grid. So weird.

      1. One day they won’t be racing at all. I cannot believe that.

      2. I tried to imagine Sebastian Vettel with his kids now. I can’t. That doesn’t make sense.

      3. Things sure seem to have changed quickly. It’s hard to imagine Schumacher’s last title was won 11 years ago. That’s longer than the period between his first and final title. The whole 2010-2013 period also seems to blur together in my mind.

        More on topic, Button obviously hasn’t lost it yet. The way he handled himself against Hamilton, two promising rookies, and now Alonso suggests that any decision will be made by either McLaren’s desire to promote one of their own young talents or Button’s decision that he’s had enough after three years of fruitless effort.

      4. Mate, it feels like only yesterday I was reading about the young karting champ Jenson Button in an Autosport “F1 stars of the future” bit. I can even remember where I was at the time. And now he isn’t just the most experienced driver on the grid, he’s one of the most experienced of all time. Age has a weird way of creeping up on you when you aren’t looking.

  7. If he will be happy, he will probably be in the WEC or doing various triathlons then.

    1. Precisely. Starting at the back of the grid might spell happy for a rookie who’s glad to get anywhere near F1, but it’ll be different for an ex-WC. The only happiness will come from counting the millions that Maclaren can afford even in straitened circumstances.

      If it were simply about being happy Button should have quit a while ago, and definitely should have quit when Ron Dennis decided to humiliate him at the end of last year. But he’s got an extra 8mil for his retirement fund, and you can’t argue with that.

    2. Or driving nice cars around the Top Gear test track.

  8. I am not at all sure that WEC is the panacea everyone thinks it is. The ACO/FIA are messing with the rules constantly, and as of this moment, there are only 2 LMP1 teams that can remotely go head to head, and one of those is now 2 seconds off the pace. Added to which they may not even be in WEC next year. Toyota has gone backwards since being crowned champions last year, Nissan, well, what on earth was all that about at Le Mans? Not a serious effort to be sure. LMP2 is going to be in trouble with engine availability and as for GTE AM & PRO, you’ve literally only got 4 manufacturers. Aston Martin are on tricky ground – they made a financial loss last year, but perhaps Mercedes Benz (them again) may be helping the racing effort from 2016 as AM switch power packs to MB. Just four factory backed efforts in “the pinnacle of endurance racing,” that’s an appalling indictment for a global series. The only bright spot on the horizon is the impending arrival of the new Ford GT in 2016 with a full factory backed effort in GTE PRO.

    I think WEC is in a world of trouble at the moment and if Button does go to Porsche, there will not be the satisfaction he gets from pedaling a solo effort as in F1, which is what he says he lives for.

    1. Thing is, @baron, there never have been many works efforts at once in a given category in endurance racing. Factory efforts have always been hedged among the classes, that’s the DNA of sportscar racing. As a huge endurance fan, I have no trouble living with this.
      However, your claim that “just four factory-backed efforts” [sic, I count 6 across all the classes] is “an appalling indictment for a global series” is a fallacy, as it can be turned against virtually any world championship today. There are only three and a half works teams in the WRC (M-Sport is no longer an official Ford squad), three in the WTCC, and three and a half in F1, if I dare be generous enough to still call RBR a semi-works team. With Suzuki and Aprilia returning, MotoGP is faring a little better on five. Is your judgement on these series just as severe?

    2. One of the reasons I can’t stand watching WEC, apart from the length of the race, is the fact that there are so few teams in each catagory, so they have to run several catagories on the track at the same time, leading to a confusing and muddled telecast. It’d be like GP2 and GP3 racing at the same time as F1, with all three running about 6 or 8 cars. And yeah, we’re already getting a taste of what that looks like with Manor and, sadly, McLaren.

      1. With up to three drivers in each car, I’ve been keeping an eye on the WEC, and since last year a very big one with Webber and Porsche returning and I can tell you if you follow it closely there is a lot more to like than F1 right now.

  9. What Vettel said about Jenson on driver conference was really nice. LINK

  10. I hope Button leaves F1 for WEC – it will be a kick in the face of the current f1 and will give WEC more popularity. It will also be better for Button, WEC seems more a driver’s series then F1 at the moment and seems very rewarding.

  11. I hope he’ll retire by own choise at the end of the season. It is clear for everyone to see he doesn’t enjoy being at the back, struggeling to finish races and not be able to compete. Even if next year could be better, Mclaren probably will not fight for the championship. I think there are more interesting things for Jenson to do, like people suggest: WEC, Top Gear, Triathlon, Rally etc. I also would like to see Vandoorne get a chance – especially against Alonso.

  12. So funny reading all the comments about what he should and shouldn’t do.
    Bottom line is, he is only working to the agenda that suits him best and so he should.
    I really hope he stays, he’s a gent and bloody fast.

  13. Looks like Honda had a talk with Button which went like this. “Don’t announce your retirement and give a vote of no confidence to our project at our home race please”. Button has agreed to defer his announcement of his retirement then.

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