Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2016

‘Possibility’ for Button to race elsewhere in 2017

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In the round-up: Jenson Button says it is possible for him to race in 2017 outside Formula One.

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@Leongtv6 on Jenson Button’s decision to step aside:

Jenson Button, a true gentleman on and off the track. Glad to see McLaren offer him a contract before season ends, unlike the previous two years, in which they treated him a bit disrespectfully.

Button has shown great commitment to Mclaren, equal to that Hakkinen showed. Very happy for Vandoorne also. I hope he has to show something more special than his predecessor.
@Leongtv6

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  • 44 comments on “‘Possibility’ for Button to race elsewhere in 2017”

    1. My worry with Vadoorne is that he might not instantly be the huge success everybody expects. Magnussen wasn’t immediately a star in his first year at McLaren, nor was Perez (even with a few years of experience). If Vandoorne doesn’t immediately rival Alonso like Hamilton did, is it possible that Vandoorne will get the boot and Button back? Or is Ron Dennis anticipating history will repeat itself and he will fall out with Alonso like when Hamilton arrived? There’s something about this deal that is really strange, in my mind it doesn’t quite add up.

      1. I think it’s pretty logical. Alonso has stated several times that he’d retire if he doesn’t enjoy driving the new cars (and if the car isn’t competitive in 2017, he could do it during the season), so having a talented, experienced driver who has very recent driving experience, and who is acclimated to the team as a backup is a good move. He’s also popular with the media? So that’s another incentive to keep him linked to McLaren.

        1. Yup. I think there’s more risk of Alonso falling out with F1 in general than with McLaren.

      2. Vandoorne will be quick when he enters F1. As with all rookies it will take some time to get everything down, but they invested enough to give him a fair chance. Ron is an experienced guy. I do wonder why you put magnussen there. I haven’t seen anything that maken me think he should be in F1.

      3. It’s something Ron Dennis has done before. If you have a major asset, but for whatever reason no place to employ him in his current role, give him something else to do so other teams don’t get their hands on him. Dennis built an entire roadcar business for Gordon Murray, so rival teams wouldn’t lure him away during his ‘sabbatical’ from F1.

    2. He can say and do what he likes of course, but after reading that Noble article in full, I think Verstappen might want to take a look at that 2001 incident again. I don’t remember Villeneuve’s driving being in question at all for the crash.

      1. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/villeneuve-calls-critics-babies-1.292817

        Maybe Verstappen should take a look at his future. Maybe take a few guitar lessons.

      2. How can you still say that after reading that Noble article in full? All Verstappen was trying to say was it’s not respectful to talk about death so easily, as it can be a reality. But everyone just wants a stick to beat him with.

        1. Villeneuve’s own father died in a racing car. I think he’s more than aware of the difficulties that come with discussing death in motorsport. Verstappen is behaving like a complete child. Worse than that, he doesn’t seem to be open to listening. Bit like Maldonado, but obviously with a lot more talent.

        2. Duncan Idaho (@)
          5th September 2016, 0:05

          Spare the rod…

      3. Having read that article and in particular the transcribed part of the interview, I’m very much afraid that the critics are right and it will take a very serious if not fatal accident to get the child to change his attitude. For everyone else’s sake, let us hope that it is he, Verstappen, who comes off worst and not another driver, marshal or spectator.

        1. Henrik what are you even talking about? Everything Verstappen does, he has done it before, remember the beautiful overtake on Nasr, he practiced it before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2meNRZomfs
          Remember the defending against Raikkonen, he done it in F3, on the limit , but fair. He isn’t as reckless as you claim he is. Yes he is a bit aggressive, like in Spa, but he will mature in experience.

        2. it will take a very serious if not fatal accident to get the child to change his attitude. For everyone else’s sake, let us hope that it is he, Verstappen, who comes off worst and not another driver, marshal or spectator.

          Never thought that somebody could make an even more stupid and insensitive comment than Verstappen in his interview!

    3. Shame that Button decided to step aside- but it’s great that Vandoorne is finally in. It’s a double edged sword.

      Scott Dixon lapped the full Glen track at 147 mph… good enough for pole position; fantastic. From what I have seen in qualifying, those cars are expetedly flying through there. The drivers are braking and changing down to 4th gear while turning into the Bus Stop; I didn’t think IndyCars had the aero or lightness to do that. The 2010 IndyCar race never saw qualifying speeds go past 140 mph and the F1 cars (even with the Esses chicane and no Bus Stop chicane and far older cars) in 1980 lapped at 125-130 mph. The new tarmac there really did help, I think.

      1. Do you really believe Button decided to step aside? If he did, he would not have stuck around as reserve driver and waiting for Alonso to leave in 2018… To me, what Ron Dennis did just seems disrespectful to Jenson, because you don’t treat a world champion like that by feeding him some scraps. Also, Jenson should have said no to this deal and find other formulas to take part in, if he still wanted to race.

        1. He clearly doesn’t want to be in F1 at all costs, given Williams tried to sign him.

          1. He wants to be in F1 in a winning car but no team wants him in a winning car.

            1. @rethla

              really, none of those 3 race winning cars have a slot open? that must mean he’s bad and got forced out

            2. There could yet be surprising developments. The increasingly strident and vituperous comments of the President of ChryslerFiat Corp; Sergio Marchionne, could result in major shake-ups and given that his current chief gripe is Ferrari’s “failure to develop their car”, someone of Button’s recent pedigree replacing Räikkönen could be his way to show, not only his decisiveness to both board and owners, but also everyone within Ferrari the consequences of failure according to his lofty standards. Not very likely but a possibility.

        2. He did stand aside for Vandoorne- he is now reserve driver. At his age and considering how long he has been in F1- it’s very understandable. He’s won a WDC, he has achieved all he’s wanted in F1.

    4. It’s a shame we never got to see magnussen and vandoorne together in the same machinery.

      Magnussen needed time to bed into F1 as well as have he right expectations (machinery was too uncompetitive to replicate Lewis intro to the sport)

      Vandoorne from his one race and GP2 is looking like a good talent coming up so it will be exciting to see how he does against Alonso.

      1. Vandoorne and Magnussen were in the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 World Series together and Magnussen beat Vandoorne to the title.

        1. Leo B, there is the caveat that Vandoorne was in his debut season in 2013, whereas Magnussen had the benefit of an additional year of experience.

          It is one of those things that can cut both ways – Vandoorne was more competitive in his debut season than Magnussen was, as he scored twice as many points and finished much higher up in the standings than Magnussen did on his debut.
          On his debut, Magnussen was 7th in 2012 (on 106 points) and was only the fourth highest rated rookie that season (he wasn’t even the highest ranked Danish driver – Marco Sørensen, also a rookie that year, managed to beat Magnussen in 2012).

    5. although it is logical for ron to want a talented young driver in the team before he loses him [ look at the age of his current drivers ] my objection to his not giving button a new contract was with losing all that development experience at the start of new regulations ; however this deal probably suits button very well after 17 years straight of the F1 life stepping back for a year will undoubtedly appeal, fitness not being a consideration as it is his passion and sim time keeping him in touch with developments

    6. I cannot believe he takes this deal and drags out the inevitable. McLaren made a HUGE goof up in 2012 with sabotaging Hamilton and not offering him a proper contract. They made their bed with jenson and the results speak for themselves.

      1. So, you think that being Hamilton at the wheel instead of Button or Alonso, current Mclaren-Honda would be fighting for victories?

        1. + 100
          McLaren’s F1 effort is nothing to write home about yet. Lewis would be floundering in the back just like any driver would driving that car. We could bring back any champion in their prime, they’d be doing the same as Alonso and Button. Losing and barely scoring points. Fangio, Schumacher, Prost, Lauda, Hunt, Senna, Villeneuve etc. The cars package, just doesn’t have it.

          If you’re a McLaren fan, you just have to trust they’ll sign who the need to when/if they become front runners again. Who knows, by then Lewis might be available.

    7. Sorry guys, have I missed something? This deal means Button is or is not retiring, because he could or could not replace Alonso for 2018, but means he is not interested in other teams, thus making further races after this year reliant on Fernando not liking the new formula? So quite apart from promoting Vandoorne, this deal achieves nothing other than defer another difficult driver choice by twelve months, and leaves an untidy level of uncertainty of Button’s final, or otherwise, race in Abu Dhabi.

      1. To me it reads Top Gear for Button in 2017.

        1. @coldfly LeBlanc, Harris and Button – that’s a line-up that might even get The Grand Tour worried. Button won’t do it though – he should, but I don’t see him being allowed to drive anything other than a McLaren as a McLaren ambassador. Too much public scrutiny as well – Kvyat and Chris Evans could share notes on the pressures of a public implosion.

      2. If Alonso wants to retire after 2017, Jenson is back.

        If he doesn’t, bye bye Jenson.

        Quite simple to me, and a brilliant move by McLaren, they are sure to have a world champion in their team until at least 2018.

    8. I can’t help but think the Button contract is a really weird end to his career.

      He’s not retiring, in fact he’s a reserve driver for the next two years….Huh?!

      Rumours were Williams found him too expensive (heard in a podcast a few ago talking about Fry saying Williams is ready for a top driver now while Clair said something else about budget) and yesterday in Ted’s Notebook Ted said that it’s between 17yr old Lance Stroll with his $30m pound budget and Nasr with his $20m budget whith Bottas not being confirmed either.

      To me it seems that Button cost more and had less budget to bring to Williams and that McLaren just really wanted to promote Vandoorne, leaving Button the odd man out. With this strange new 2yr deal for Jenson they keep him within the team in case Fernando quits and possibly for a management-like role in the future or something.

      All the while Button goes out of his way to say he is not retiring and even that there might be racing for another team next year still….

      To me from the outside all this seems more like Jenson wanted to continue with either Williams or McLaren but both teams said ‘no’ and McLaren gave him a more gracious ‘out’ than simply firing him.

    9. Seeing that about Max, it seems much more likely Red Bull and the PR machine got to his ear since what he said wasn’t exactly the smartest thing ever

      1. I thought it was a good answer. Villeneuve did enough stupid things in his career while he was a lot older than Verstappen now, he should shut up.
        His career is full of accidents where he wanted to show other people he had big balls and all he did was made himself look stupid. https://youtu.be/w6XYR2F36MM

        1. It wasn’t a good answer. It was stupid.

        2. @paeschli ‘did enough stupid things’ is inaccurate, and all you’ve shown is JV having the balls to try Eau Rouge flat, which has nothing to do with moving in front of another driver and risking their safety. Yes JV had big balls, but he also raced respectfully.

          1. Villeneuve had a big racing suit and a fantastic Williams in 97. Except that first year he was nothing special imho. After his career he has been very judgemental about F1 as a series and drivers to the point I sigh whenever he’s quoted. He never took back his insults about Max when he made his debut like Hakkinen did and now just finds something else to nag about. He’s a clown imho

      1. @Coldfly Will be finalized by Tuesday & announced either the same day or later in the week.

        For all the complaints fans aim towards CVC & Bernie & I know that many will initially welcome this deal……. However i’d be very, very careful what you wish for because from what i’ve heard from people regarding the guy who will become the primary owner (Chase Carey) he will be pushing very heavily to go in the entertainment direction & will have no problems at all pushing through as many gimmicks as he see’s necessary (Seems he is a fan of having 2-3 shorter races over a weekend rather than the traditional single GP).

        I’ve also seen a report suggesting he wants to add as many as 25 races in order to maximize early revenue streams & make back what there spending as quickly as possible.

    10. cotd I understand that as a tribute we try to say the nicest things about anybody but even though Jenson is part of an f1 fan’s life, I think we ought to be honest, he’s like family to an f1 fan. I can speak for many that were very young when they started watching f1 and coincidently the very start of JB’s career. I always picked Button on the f1 games, I’m sure you did too. I like JB, everyone does but I can’t let it slide that if JB wasn’t English, and a marketers dream he wouldn’t have last 3 seasons in f1, as the average, he’s no Hamilton and on talent I would say Di Resta was clearly more promising. After 9 seasons of f1 JB had it’s lucky break, for a guy that spent so long driving a car caring the lucky word only to find himself a little unlucky, that’s ironic. We know Rubens didn’t had the testing and was a bit like Gutierrez superior on the 2nd part of the year but it’s f1. Jb has good years from 09 to 16, never quicker than his teammates but solid. In the end a gentleman wouldn’t have realised he’s no F1 material and a gentleman wouldn’t mock his own team publicly and a gentleman wouldn’t bully someone after he himself hit that person. I think you understand when I say JB has been with us since ever but I rather see someone young and deserving getting the chance most of us don’t.

      1. What on Earth are you on about?

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