As McLaren eyes a big-name signing, Button admits he may be forced to retire

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Jenson Button has admitted for the first time that he could be forced to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season if he is pushed out of McLaren by a big-name signing.

The 2009 world champion is the most experienced driver on the grid, having made his debut back in 2000. However, McLaren – the team he joined in 2010 – is known to be targeting a high-profile driver such as Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel to herald the return of Honda as an engine partner in 2015.

Eric Boullier confirmed over the race weekend in Belgium that the team would be making a decision about its line-up for 2015 before the season is out, putting pressure on both Button and teammate Kevin Magnussen to prove that they are worthy of being kept on.

However, regardless of his form, Button admitted to the BBC that he may have little say in the matter.

“We haven’t sat down and talked about it,” the Briton explained. “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 Formula 1.”

McLaren is currently enduring a difficult spell in F1, scoring just two podium finishes since the end of 2012, but joining forces with Honda for 2015 will make the team an attractive option for drivers looking for a seat.

As my MotorSportsTalk colleague Tony DiZinno touched on yesterday, it could well be that the team confirms a driver a year in advance, signing a deal for 2016. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton’s contracts all expire at the end of next season, making the trio a set of realistic targets for the British team.

For now though, Button and Magnussen will have to simply keeping pushing on with the troublesome MP4-29 car in the hope that they will be a part of the team when Honda’s backing arrives in 2015.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”