Jenson Button has dismissed reports linking him with a move away from McLaren, stating that he is perfectly happy with the British team.
Button, who won the world championship in 2009, was rumored to be unhappy with the team’s performance this season and subsequently looking into a move away from Woking. However, the Briton has rubber-stamped his faith in McLaren to bounce back soon.
“If this was a team that was consistently finishing fourth or fifth in championship then of course I would look elsewhere,” Button told Autosport. “In that case, I would look to one of the frontrunning teams to step up to, somewhere that could give me a race-winning car.
“But this isn’t a team that is finishing four or fifth in the constructors. This is a bad year and in years to come this team will be fighting for world championships. I am not looking around like some people might think.”
Following Mark Webber’s confirmation that he would be retiring at the end of the season, some areas of the British media suggested that a move to Red Bull may be on the cards for Button. Christian Horner has stated that the defending world champions are only considering Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Kimi Raikkonen for the seat, ending any chances of Button moving to Red Bull.
However, such a move may be unwise for Button given Sebastian Vettel’s influence at Milton Keynes, coupled with Button’s own success at McLaren. Since joining in 2010, he has shown great maturity and talent as a driver, finishing second in the 2011 drivers’ championship.
Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.
“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”
Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.
The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.
Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.
Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.
Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.
Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.
Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”