6 JENSON ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 3 WHERE: MONZA, ITALY
When the news came just before the Italian Grand Prix in early September, it was another halfway house. Button would step down from driving, but remain as part of the team’s line-up as a reserve and development driver.
As the season drew to a close, it became clear that Button knew that it was a farewell tour, and he treated the last races as such.
“I’m definitely not retiring. I’ll be working with the team next year, I’ll be racing in other things and in the future I will be
WHEN: JUNE 19 WHERE: LA SARTHE, FRANCE
Rarely has a single tweet defined a sporting drama as well as Anthony Davidson’s, sent seconds after the flag fell to end the 84th 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Toyota was so close. Kazuki Nakajima was at the wheel of the number five TS050 Hybrid, running 30 seconds ahead of the top Porsche 919 and entering the final four minutes of the race.
For 23 hours, 56 minutes and 35 seconds the TS050 was a dream machine. But for those final three and a bit, it became one of the legendary heartbreakers.
Nakajima had warned the team that the car’s acceleration was fading with six minutes to go but Toyota, desperate for its first-ever Le Mans victory, elected to keep the car out.
Nakajima lost power for good due to an electrical glitch exiting the Ford Chicane, with his car rolling to a halt on the start/finish line on what was to be the final lap of the race. Porsche cruised past to snatch an unlikely second LMP1 win, driving until I’m 70-odd years old,” he said in Abu Dhabi, the scene of his swan song. “I’m not retiring until then – it’s just whether I get paid to do it or not, that’s the only difference.”
The question now is, of course, what will he do next. There is an emotional link to rallycross, where his late father John forged a reputation in the 1970s and 1980s. There is the temptation to tackle Le Mans too. Whichever discipline he chooses, Button will be warmly received. MJ prompting scenes of despair and disbelief in the Toyota Gazoo Racing garage.
Davidson’s message simply read: “Kazuki on the radio as he crossed the line ‘I’m ready to cry guys’. Don’t worry mate. I was already there.”
Enough said really. RL