Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2016

Button: “I’m thinking this will be my last race”

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Jenson Button says he expects this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be his final F1 race.

The McLaren driver could return to Formula One in 2018 but indicated in today’s press conference he is planning more than just a sabbatical from Formula One.

“I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race,” said Button. “I think that’s the best way.”

Jenson Button, Brawn team, Interlagos, 2009
Jenson Button’s 300 F1 races in pictures
“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.”

“I think of this as my last race and hopefully everyone else does as well. It’s been a long journey since eight years old until now I’ve been racing in motor sport.”

“Everything before Formula One was work to try to get to Formula One. You get to Formula One with many dreams, you aspire to be something, and hopefully you leave the sport with memories. And that’s something I definitely do have from my 17 years racing in Formula One. Lots of amazing memories, lots of life-changing memories, some good, some bad. And also to walk away with the world championship is a very special feeling as well.”

“Raced with two of the teams that I dreamt of racing with as a kid: Williams and McLaren. And when I did win the world championship it was with a privateer team which I think is also pretty special. Obviously a very memorable year in my life. In the future something I’ll hopefully be telling my grand-kids about – how it came from nothing and we ended up winning the world championship.”

“Over 300 grands prix. I will definitely step away from Formula One happy with what I’ve achieved and knowing that my life really does start now.

Button denied he has changed his position on stepping down from F1 at the end of the season. “Nothing’s changed, I’ve just gone into this race thinking it’s my last<" he said. "I don't want to go into this race thinking it's not my last and it is my last. It is true that I have a contract for 2018 but at this moment in time I'm not going to be racing in 2018." "The whole idea about having a contract was in three months' time, when I've eaten myself stupid and thinking of things to do in the future, maybe feel I need Formula One back in my life. But at this moment in time, that isn't the case." "This is my last race, that's the way I think about it at the moment. But who knows, that could change in six months, eight months, one year."

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Button: “I’m thinking this will be my last race””

  1. Thank you JB, for memorable races like Canada ’11 or Hungary ’06, you will be missed in F1 Paddock!

  2. Of course it is… I really don’t understand why there was the whole charade in the first place.

    He’s had a great career which he should be very proud of. He’s fought back from many setbacks in his early career and held his own against (and often beat) high calibre team-mates including Hamilton, Alonso, Barrichello, Villeneuve etc. In his late career he’s also seen off the challenge of young chargers such as Perez and Magnussen.

    Personally I was one of those who wrote him off with every move he made. I thought he’d get trounced by Hamilton year-on-year between 2010-12, but he’s really changed my opinion of his skills.

    As a man, he seems a good laugh and a thorough professional… I’m sure he’ll be missed in the paddock.

    I hope he does make a comeback in a competitive McLaren should a space arise for any reason, but let’s not pretend that it’s likely.

    1. SETBACKS?? I remember JB debuting in the Williams one of the quickest cars on the grid, easy leg up onto F1…though he failed to impress Frank and went backwards from there…he didnt have to fight his way up through the grid like the Great drivers…

      1. So Hamilton also isn’t a “great driver” just because he didn’t fight his way up the grid? 4 WDC’s between the pair would disagree with you…

        The Williams was indeed one of the quickest on the grid (3rd in the WCC in 2000) and Jenson measured up well to Ralf Schumacher in his first season, but was only ever intended to be a stop-gap until they could get Juan-Pablo Montoya.

        He was then shunted into the worst performing Benetton in over a decade… granted he didn’t perform well in it, but Fisichella only scored 8 points. The next year he beat Trulli (who, granted, had poor reliability) and yet was still fired… because Briatore.

        Once Briatore had finished publically insulting his talents, his new team-mate Villeneuve stepped up instead. Button overcame him with three times his points tally. Finally seen as a mature set of hands and trusted by his team, he scored podiums in more than half the races in 2004.

        I won’t into a full biography to prove a point, but add to the above a contract dispute with Williams/BAR, Honda’s horrible 2007/08 campaigns and subsequent withdrawal and you’ll start to see why I think his endurance through several setbacks is worthy of appreciation from F1 fans.

        1. LH got his chance in the macca and took it with both hands and showed he was as good as the car, Ben you cannot tell me if JB had of shown he was something special Frank would not of kept him in the Willy…4WCs between them? Ben are you in PR??? Button won 1 wc in a “blown” brawn that the field protested was illegal in 09.. by the time the rest of grid was allowed to be blown JB had so many points he was un catchable..( oh and Ross later stated they only had the budget to upgrade and develop JBs car not RBs) in 09 if you remember they ran the large part of 09 without sponsorship…..JB was a good average driver at best and earnt more out of F1 than he gave back …sorry to disagree

          1. by the time the rest of grid was allowed to be blown

            They were all allowed to be “blown” from day 1 – in fact Ross pointed this out to them months ahead of the season start, and a number of other teams did run with the “double diffuser” from the start of that season. Don’t let facts stand in the way of a good rant, though.

          2. Go checks your facts johnny Brawns were protested against and it wasnt just the double diff

          3. Brawn also only had the best car for 7 races, until the rest of the field caught up, as they had no money for development. By the end of the season they had the 3rd or 4th best car, and he still won the WDC because he took the opportunity and wion 6/7 races when they had the best car. People who say he “only just won with a dominant car all year” clearly have no idea.

    2. He’s had a great career which he should be very proud of. He’s fought back from many setbacks in his early career and held his own against (and often beat) high calibre team-mates including Hamilton, Alonso, Barrichello, Villeneuve etc. In his late career he’s also seen off the challenge of young chargers such as Perez and Magnussen.

      FIRST TIME I THINK ABOUT THAT, GOOD ONE! 👌👍👍

      1. Hugh not sure ehat your point is??? Yes Button won more races than any other driver and scored more points..if his wins were the start or the end of the season it makes no difference???

  3. “I’m thinking this will be my last race”

    Button now thinking what everyone else was thinking back when he announced his ‘sabbatical’. Whole thing is a farce.

  4. 2 races out of all his drives for the millions upon millions he was paid over the years? l think Jense got a great deal out of F1…Sorry never got what was so great about Mutton as a driver, l wont miss him or his smooth unexciting driving..though he is a gentleman unlike myself.

    1. Now say it again without crying.

  5. I will miss Button a lot. A driver who was very easy to sympathize with throughout his career. If I remember right he used to have more fans on F1Fanatic than any other driver. He might still have. And that speaks volumes.

    I still don’t understand why Williams prefered Stroll over Button. Did they really need a pay driver that desperately? One farewell season with a team where Button started would’ve been a perfect way to end his mightily successful career. And BOT-BUT line-up would’ve been great to see, as we still haven’t been able to compare Bottas to a fast team-mate. I think Button could’ve given Bottas a challenge way more difficult to beat than Maldonado or old Massa

    1. It seemed to me that in the end, Button didn’t want to go to Williams. Button seems concerned with having a career and being involved after he stops driving, so having a lifetime role with McLaren was more important than [potentially] throwing that away for 1-2 seasons at Williams. This was my speculation at least.

    2. HUHHI more fans on this site http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk can you see the UK part of the address?

      1. @nosehair I don’t think that matters awful lot. Kimi has statistically more fans than Button or Hamilton on this site despite domain name not being F1Fanatic.fi

        1. Can you show me the Stats?

          1. @nosehair Just click somebody’s profile (like mine for example) -> go to Profile tab, click one driver’s name who I’m supporting -> You can see list of members with gray text “Viewing 1 – 20 of x active members” The x value in that sentence shows how many F1 Fanatics supports that driver.

            Kimi – 1 859
            Button – 1 836
            Hamilton – 1 745

            Notice that Paul Di Resta has 564 supporters, Palmer has 21 supporters and Will Stevens has only 18 supporters. If domain name meant anything all those drivers would have much more supporters.

          2. Thank you

  6. Until possibly this weekend the only teammate of Hamilton to beat him on points. He also beat Alonso on points, don’t think Alonso lost on points to a teammate before that.

    1. Trulli was ahead in 2004, and then got sacked.

  7. Good news. He has nothing more to give, no motivation to go on, and thus should give someone else the opportunity to live their dream. Also at time point in time, Button has become quite average. I feel that at least half of the drivers currently in F1 have more to offer performance wise.

  8. Bon voyage Jenson. You have finally gotten a grip on the reality that this could be your last race.

  9. He should play James Bond role on the next movie. Perfect fit!

  10. Honestly, there is a very high chance that Jenson is back next season. There is a very high probability of Mclaren delivering another lower midfield contender next year, and in that case, I would could see Alonso leaving the squad immediately. It’s kind of painful for Jenson, but the only chance of him getting a drive for Mclaren again is if they produce another disaster of a car.

  11. Nice enough guy, JB, though totally overrated. Bring on that Belgian kid in the Mclaren.

  12. Brilliant driver, sad to see him go. Only team mate (so far) to have beaten Hamilton, and he got more points over the 3 seasons they were team mates. No one else can say that. Don’t see how he’s an overrated driver, those people clearly don’t know much about F1. Won probably the greatest race of all time, from last to first in 30 laps. His first win (when it eventually came, unfortunately not getting one even after 10 podiums at BAR in 2004, but Ferrari…) was fantastic too, was the fastest man on the track at many times. He won a WDC with a car that was only dominant for 7 races, took advantage of that, and then scored consistently and enough to stay ahead for the rest of the races after the rest of the teams caught up. He’s come from bad situations, like Renault, Honda discontinuing, and has still had an illustrious career. Truly a great driver, and an inspiration to many.

    1. Why would any team want button back unless he was bringing money, lots of faster young talent in the field who dont blame the car

      1. That literally replies to none of what I said but okay. I agree with you though, much as I love him, it was his time to leave, especially as Vandoorne will be 25 next year, and most new drivers are coming into the sport as teenagers now.

  13. Gonna miss him – a fair driver – nice and balanced…nothing is forever…

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