“I approach this as my final F1 race”
Jenson Button regarded last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as his final race in Formula 1, despite having a contract with Mclaren that would allow him to return to a race seat in 2018.
The 2009 champion announced earlier this year that he would be taking a sabbatical from the sport next season, becoming the team’s reserve driver. However, Button – who made his debut back in 2000 – said it was very unlikely he would race in the sport again.
“I go into this weekend thinking it is going to be my last race,” he said ahead of the event. “That is the best way to be at this moment of time.
“Beyond this, I don’t want to be racing in F1 – that is the whole idea. I think of this as my last race and hopefully everyone else does.
“It is true I have a contract for 2018 but at this moment in time I am not going to be racing in 2018.
“The whole idea about having a contract is that in three months’ time, when I have eaten myself stupid and am thinking of things to do in the future, maybe I realise I need F1 back in my life.
“But in this moment of time that isn’t the case.”
Button’s final race only lasted 12 laps after he clipped a kerb at Turn 9, which caused a suspension failure.
“Something failed on the car, which never happens to us,” said Button. “It did today, of all days. I would love to have been out there for longer and had some fights.
“I made sure that when I came in and got out of the car I celebrated with the fans in the grandstand and the people watching at home and the mechanics.
“This isn’t the perfect end, ‘it was sad he didn’t get to finish his last race’, but I’m very content. Today was never going to change anything in my career.
“[It was] very difficult not to get emotional. I’ve loved my 17 years in this sport, it’s my entire adult life. I won a world championship, that was my aim and I did that.”
Button added that while this is likely the end of his F1 career, he has no desire to retire from motorsport.
“I’m definitely not retiring,” he said. “I’ll be working here with the team next year, I’ll be racing in other things and in the future I will be driving until I’m 70-odd years old. I’m not retiring until then – it’s just whether I get paid to do it or not, that’s the only difference.”
Button’s rallycross aim, page 29