Jenson Button says he will quit Formula 1 if he does not stay at McLaren-Honda in 2016.
McLaren are yet to choose whether to hold the 35-year-old British Formula 1 driver the next season or not? In any case, Button said on the eve of the Singapore Grand Prix that he was not inspired of the idea of moving to another group.
“If I’m in F1, it will be with this team,” he said. “I have had some tough times here but I have a lot of respect for them and for Honda. This is the team for the future.”
McLaren have been uncompetitive this year, to a great extent on account of the absence of execution of the Honda motor on the Japanese organization’s arrival to the sport following a six-year absence.
The team has a contractual option on the 2009 world champion, and racing director Eric Boullier says they “intend” to exercise it – but McLaren have made no final decision on whether to keep Button.
Their other alternative is to advance one of their young drivers – Dane Kevin Magnussen, who drove for McLaren in 2014, or Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.
Button’s options at McLaren have narrowed so far and if McLaren did not keep him then his realistic choice in F1 for 2016 would be to hope for a move to the new US-based Haas team.
Speaking in an interview Button said: “It’s been a very tough season mentally for the whole team.
“For everyone that’s working at Woking and (Honda’s base in) Sakura in Japan, it’s been a really tough season. But everyone’s stayed positive and got their heads down. We’re all focusing on improving.
“I do rant, in private. I get a lot of journalists asking me ‘You’re so calm, you’re so smiley at the circuit’.
“When I’m at the circuit, I enjoy it. Away from the circuit, when I’m at the factory, of course you have to push hard. You have to tell the team what you think. When you speak to the Japanese guys at Honda, you’ve got to push them hard.
“It’s positive criticisms. You’ve got to help them with direction but you’ve also got to tell them ‘We’ve got to move forward now. We can’t wait any longer, it’s taking too long.’ I push hard, I’m definitely not a guy who sits back and hopes for the best.”
— Jenson Button (@f1_button) September 17, 2015