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Button on F1 2018 return: ‘I can’t rule it out’

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Jenson Button says he cannot rule out a full-time return to Formula 1 in 2018 given his contract with McLaren, but is treating his appearance in Monaco next weekend as a one-off.

Button stepped away from his McLaren seat at the end of 2016 and signed a two-year deal with the team to serve as its reserve driver and ambassador.

The Briton was content with his decision to quit full-time F1 racing after 17 seasons and expected last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to be his final appearance, only to be drafted in for Monaco following Fernando Alonso’s decision to race in the Indianapolis 500.

Button has an option in his McLaren contract to return to F1 full-time in 2018 should both he and the team be willing, and the 2009 world champion admitted he could not rule it out.

“I can’t rule it out. I have a contract with the team to race next year so I would definitely not rule anything out,” Button told Press Association.

“It is pretty mad really that I am getting back in a Formula 1 car, but there are no negative thoughts going through my head. It will be nice to get a good result, but I don’t know what is going to happen.

“I don’t have anything to gain, but I don’t have anything to lose either. I am there to help the team out and have some fun and it will probably be one of the most fun grands prix for me because there is no pressure. It is a one-off so I am really excited about the challenge.

“I am thinking of Monaco as my only race this year. Obviously if I am asked again at another point in the year I am here to fill that seat.

“But I am not going to go out of my way to ask to drive because the whole idea was not to.”

Button also revealed that he had options to race for a rival team in 2017, but was determined to take a step back from full-time commitments on-track.

“I had so many options to race this year it is hilarious,” Button said.

“That even went into this year with two different teams asking me to race.

“I have no interest in doing that.”

Dakar Rally video highlights from the concluding Stage 14

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET and Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

The 40th Dakar Rally is now history.

Nearly 550 competitors began the early 5,600-mile long race 15 days ago and concluded Saturday.

As we’ve done throughout the Rally, here are some key video highlights from NBCSN’s coverage of the Rally:

TRUCKS

CARS

QUADS

 

MOTORCYCLES