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

2 Comments

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.

‘No desire’ for Lewis Hamilton to race in Indianapolis 500

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton has ruled out a future appearance in the Indianapolis 500, saying he has “no real plans” to do any serious racing once his time in Formula 1 is over.

Former teammate and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took part in the 101st running of the Indy 500 in May, qualifying fifth and running high up the order before retiring late on with an engine issue.

The F1-to-IndyCar crossover proved to be one of the biggest motorsport stories of the year, and has stirred the imagination of other drivers to make a similar step into other events in the future, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is known to be on Alonso’s radar as well as that of Haas racer Romain Grosjean.

Three-time F1 world champion Hamilton admired 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s victory ring when on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, trying it on and joking it may spur him to enter the race to try and win the jewelry.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton stressed he made the comment in jest, saying he holds not interest in entering the ‘500.

“Honestly it hasn’t inspired me to do the Indy 500,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve always respected it and appreciated it. I got to watch part of it when Fernando did it which I thought was super exciting. I love the idea of drivers being able to do more than one series.

“Just the other day I got to drive an F1 car on an oval circuit which was interesting. I have a huge amount of respect for those drivers as it is quite scary approaching those banks at the speeds that they do.

“I personally don’t have a desire to drive it. Maybe one day I will go out and have some fun.

“I have a lot of opportunities to do those kinds of things, but no real plans to do anything serious.”

Hamilton has previously said he would like to try a NASCAR race for fun one day, but has made clear his plan after his F1 career is over is to distance himself from racing in order to pursue other interests.