“I ap­proach this as my fi­nal F1 race”

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Stephen Lick­o­r­ish

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

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