Jenson Button considered bid to compete for Team GB in triathlon at 2016 Olympic Games


Away from Formula 1, it is publicly known that McLaren driver Jenson Button is a very accomplished triathlete.

But few would have guessed that the British driver actually considered competing for Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Button took up triathlon back in 2008 during a difficult spell with Honda as he looked to find a source of escapism from the busy F1 world.

Although he managed to turn his on-track fortunes around to win the 2009 world championship, the British driver did not scale back his competitive triathlon commitments, setting up the Ichiban Triathlon Team to take part in events.

Speaking with British newspaper the Daily Mirror, Button revealed that he considered turning his focus to full-time triathlon and a bid to compete at Rio next year when his F1 career was left in the lurch last winter.

“I did think about Rio,” Button said, “and then decided ‘no’.”

“First of all I am way too old; about 10 years too old compared to the Brownlee brothers [Alistair and Jonathan, gold and bronze medallists respectively at London 2012].

“So it’s definitely not for me. I’m a pretty good amateur athlete but anyone at the top of their game as a professional is at a completely different level to that.”

McLaren had considered dropping Button in favor of Fernando Alonso for the 2015 season, but eventually opted to retain the Briton and bench his former teammate, Kevin Magnussen. Despite taking a sizeable pay cut, Button secured a two-year deal with the team, ensuring him a place in F1 until he is 36.