Jenson Button says he is treating this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as his final Formula 1 race despite having an option to return in 2018.
Button announced in September that he would be stepping back from his McLaren F1 race seat for 2017, making way for GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Briton is part of what McLaren has called an ‘innovative three-driver strategy’ and will work as the team’s reserve driver through 2017, being on standby should Vandoorne or teammate Fernando Alonso be unable to race.
There is also an option in Button’s contract to return full-time should both he and McLaren agree a deal, appearing to act as a safety net for the team should Alonso decide to leave after 2017.
Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Button said that although the door will not be shutting on his F1 career this weekend, he is treating Abu Dhabi as his last grand prix.
“I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race,” Button said.
“I think that’s the best way. It is going to be my last race. At this moment in time, I don’t want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.
“It is true that I have a contract in 2018, but at this moment in time I am not going to be racing in 2018.
“The whole point of this was if in three months’ time I had eaten myself stupid and I changed my mind.
“I don’t want to go into this race thinking it’s not my last race and it is.”
Button is not the only outgoing driver in Abu Dhabi this weekend, with Williams’ Felipe Massa confirmed to be making his final start in F1.