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.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

IndyCar
Leave a comment

In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

Follow @JerryBonkowski