Jenson Button: “I go into this weekend thinking it is going to be my last F1 race”
Jenson Button
Posted By: Editor   |  24 Nov 2016   |  4:41 pm GMT  |  62 comments

Jenson Button says he does not want to compete in Formula 1 in 2018 and is treating this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as his final race.

McLaren announced at the Italian Grand Prix that the British racer would be its reserve driver in 2017 and had a contract to race in 2018 if Fernando Alonso decided to leave F1 after next season.

But speaking at the pre-event press conference for this weekend’s race at the Yas Marina circuit, Button explained that he was treating the season finale as his F1 swansong.

Jenson Button

He said: “I go into this weekend thinking it is going to be my last race. 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.”

Button was asked if anything had changed since the Monza announcement – where the 2015 GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne, who replaced Alonso on a one-off appearance at the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year, was confirmed as a McLaren race driver alongside the Spaniard in 2017.

The 2009 world champion explained that the situation was the same as it has been in September, and he added that he could still conceivably change his outlook on racing in 2018.

Jenson Button Stoffel Vandoorne

He said: “Nothing has changed, I am just going into this race thinking it is my last. I don’t want to go in thinking it isn’t my last and [then] it is my last. 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. So this is my last race [and] that is how I think about it at the moment. Who knows, this could change in six to eight months or one year.”

Jenson Button Brazilian Grand Prix 2009

The final race of the 2016 F1 season will be Button’s 305th Grand Prix start and he has scored 15 wins, eight poles, 1235 points and eight fastest laps to go alongside his 2009 title with the Brawn team during his stint in F1.

The 36-year-old’s career in the championship began at the 2000 Australian Grand Prix where he raced for Williams and he has since gone to compete for Benetton (which became Renault), BAR (which became Honda and Brawn) and McLaren.

As reflected on his 16-year career in the sport, Button declared that he could leave F1 being happy with his achievements.

Jenson Button

He said: “It has been a long journey – from eight years old until now I have been racing in motorsport. Everything before F1 was work to try to get to F1, and you get to F1 with many dreams and aspire to be something.

“I raced for two teams I dreamed of racing for as a kid, Williams and McLaren, and when I won the championship it was with a privateer team, which is very special. There are so many memories I can’t put them all out on the table right now.

“I will definitely step away from F1 happy with what I achieved and knowing my life does start now.”

What do you make of the news that Button is not expecting to race in F1 after 2016? How would you assess the 2009 world champion’s career? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Goodbye Jenson you gave me many years of great racing and you’ll be missed mate.

It wasn’t all roses though *cough BAR and Jacque Villeneuve cough* but you held your own through the good times and the bad and never complained which I fully respect and were the best world champion in recent history.

Maybe we can see you in the interesting WEC series alongside another f1 great….😉


Button might still be back – in previous interviews this season he said he wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he retired.
If McLaren-Honda gets back to the top 3 by 2018, he has the contract option and I think if he thought he had a chance to be at the front he’d lean toward it.
But it’s also obvious from his interviews in Abu Dhabi that he’s pretty well disgusted with the new engine format. As he said to David Coulthard when he was presented with a special F1 gift, V8’s or more were the only way to go, but the most telling comment was that “Nobody ever watched an F1 race with the sound turned off”.
He’s an engine guy, like most of the other drivers.
Even Damon Hill seconded that emotion in Abu Dhabi in the spot standing beside his title winning car and commenting that when that F1 engine fired up behind your head you knew you really had something.
Button’s sentiments echo those of viewers everywhere.
Formula Hybrid just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Battery operated cars would be a critical item in his decision to not return in 2018.
He would then at least be able to reflect on the time that he had when the machinery of F1 was really something, before the FIA got their fingers in it and morphed is into Formula Prius.


It will be a shame to lose Britains last world champion from the grid.


That’s because it *IS* Jenson’s last ever race. Anyone who thinks he’ll be welcomed back in 2018 is kidding themselves. You’ve had a great run buddy, stop the whinge in every interview, be appreciative of the life that F1 has afforded you, and get on with the rest of your life.


A bit if me feels sad that he appears to be ruling out driving in 2018 but he can go out with his head held high.

I’ve been a big fan since he entered F1. Not a supercharger like Hamilton, Schumi et al, but in those tricky conditions I think he was the best,

What I’ll miss most, though, is that he is a genuinely nice guy. He doesn’t seem to have a beef with any other driver, he doesn’t cause controversy and his racecraft is clean. I wish him well in whatever he does, and if he should find that he’s itching to come back to 2018 and finds himself in a car I for one will have a grin on my face as big as his will undoubtedly be.


Farewell to one of the best. Bags of talent but unfortunately for many years he was consigned to driving cars that were really very poor. He had his flaws like most drivers; not necessarily the fastest over one lap and struggled with loss of rear traction, but other than that he always brought speed, guile, tenacity and consistency.

Such a shame McLaren did him such a disservice over the past years whilst their aerodynamic department imploded, he had many more wins left in him but was never given the chance.

He deserves to be remembered not just for “a lucky WDC” IN 2009 or that win in Canada 2011, but because he was a genuinely fast F1 racing driver.


I think he should have planned his retirement for the end of this season rather than messing around with terms like “sabbatical”. For the last few years McLaren have treated him like dirt, leaving him on tenterhooks whether he had a drive for the following year. I don’t know why he has been so loyal to them. He remains a better driver than many of the young upstarts being brought in and I would have hoped for a more dignified exit for one of Britain’s F1 Champions.


Just a great bloke…..


Maybe I have misread the earlier announcements but I always thought that it was sort of up in the air whether or not Jenson would return. I never quite understood it because usually if you’re gone, you’re gone. I thought it was a great move to get some cash out of McLaren but it felt a bit harsh to “dump” Jenson like this. He’s a likeable guy and a great racer. I guess he’ll be missed and I wish him well on his eating frenzy 🙂


He was a top tier driver, his talent was rewarded with a world class car to get him the WDC even though I don’t think he can be considered an all time great driver. He was lucky enough to get the best car with a team mate who who was past his best (and admittedly even at his best wasn’t probably as good as Button). I don’t think he was much better (if at all) than Massa, Coulthard or Webber, but he got the WDC that they couldn’t.


Better than Massa and Coulthard IMO. On a par with Webber


I can’t claim to have been a fan of JB’s but I wish him well in life after F1.


When I was watching Clarkson, Hammond and May last week banging around in a McLaren, a La Ferrari and a Porsche918, I couldn’t help thinking it would be so much better with Button, Webber and Massa at the wheels.
I think we’ll see JB with a mike in his hand in the future, but never like JA with a handful of mikes.


Congrats on a job well done Jenson. My wife and I always cherish our recent memory of riding with you, Stoffel, and Daniel on the train from Suzuka to Nagoya. Even if you wore that mask the whole time! We’ve been following you since the beginning and that coincidence was just amazing. Not many people get to hang out for 45 minutes with their favorite F1driver. Take care and enjoy your new life..


I don’t rhink we will ever see Button drive a Formula 1 car again! Especially now that Ron has been unceremoniously dumped by Mclaren!


Jenson Button.
Great driver. Even better bloke.
Coming from an Aussie I can think of no higher praise.
Well done JB go have a drink (or three) you have earned it.


Sorry to see JB go. Thanks for the memories.

I will never forget the anticipation of Oz ’09 following the pace the Brawn showed in pre-season testing that year.


All the best Jenson
World Rally Cross or World Endurance next season 😉


Was anyone treating this as anything but his last race?


Well done Jenson on a fantastic career . Of course people will remember Canada 2011 and rightly so when talking about JB and 2009 However, I always thought Jenson was a potential top driver right from his rookie year. I recall the German GP 2000 ( which was on the daunting ‘old’ terrifying longer circuit with massive straights through the forests) for 3 three reasons
1 Rubens Barrichello’s first win
2 Track invader in the forest section
3 Jenson’s astonishing fourth place ( he was closing on Coulthard in the far superior McLaren for a podium in mixed conditions but ran out of laps). Nevertheless it was a performance that suggested me he was potential future WDC in the right car and his qualifying performance at Spa that year (2000) was astonishing to Qualifying 3rd ( and one of those was the then defending champion Mika Hakkinen) and he out qualified the man who win the WDC that year -Michael Schumacher. JB has done a lot to be proud of in F1 just a shame JB never had a Silverstone podium.


Never really warmed to Button, always felt the nice guy act was a cover for a very selfish individual. And no I’m not a Hamilton fan. Anyway, i hope he will have a long and content retirement, a great driver but not one of the greats.


I have to disagree! You don’t get to become world champion without being great. It’s one thing having the best car but it takes something to drive it faster than everyone else.


@ Richard Du….button was never great. He was a pretty good driver who lucked into a winning car. As brundle said yeterday any one of the drivers on the grid could be on the front row given the mercedes to drive.


I’m not sure any F1 driver is any different. And it’s hard to judge without really knowing someone personally. I always thought the nicest in conversation was Pastor Maldonado, but he was regarded as a reckless, selfish jerk in the car.


I feel the same way. I never bought his nice guy routine. Sorry, Button fanboys! 😎


Happy retirement to the Frome flier as it would appear Abu-Dhabi is Jenson’s last race because the people that signed him i.e. Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis are no longer in charge of the team

No doubt, Jenson will get the F1 bug in no time because he has done it so long and you can’t give it up that easily, however, if he could divulge into commentary, this would give him his F1 fix even in retirement i.e. travel and rubbing shoulders with the F1 people

As for Jenson’s career, it’s was both a fairytale and a tragedy at the same time i.e. The Brawn story was a straight hollywood storyline however, looking back, Jenson should have stayed with Brawn which later turned into Mercedes.

Overall, it was a pleasure seeing Jenson’s dad support him over the years for the sport needs this human touch of driver’s family there in the paddock for support


Going to miss Massa’s dad in the paddock too


Yeah I think moving to McLaren, especially with an engine designed by a completely new generation of Honda engineers with no real connection to the championship winners of the past, was a triumph of hype over sense. But picking next year’s winning team at a time of great change will always be a gamble.


He did a brilliant job commentating on the Monaco GP he missed after BAR/Honda got banned for the illegal fuel tank, guaranteed career there!


@ Neil Daniel

Whoa, the fans have long memories


I agree!

He brought it up the other day, he was proud of it, especially as he was very hungover!


Maybe we will see button sometime soon then….Anyone would be better than hill and herbert, two of the most nauseating commentators i think i’ve ever seen/heard. I think if hamilton dips on sunday they will be in ‘wrist slitting/ agony aunt’ mode within seconds. Yuk


Edwards & Coulthard are good.


Jenson deserved a much better car in the last years of his career.

He is so loved by the British F1 establishment and fanbase that the concept of judging a driver vs driver points total over three years, rather than the traditional limitation to a single season, quickly went mainstream.

Awesome in the wet. He has looked and been lost on setup at times, but with Brazil 2016, you cannot help but think that there WAS something wrong with his car. As Jenson said after the race, its not like he forgot how to race in the wet.

Generally a nice character, I don’t think Whitmarsh was a good influence.

Sorry to see you go. I thought you and Alonso would be a points maximising pairing.

Good luck for the future.


All Jensen’s many supporters must be hoping to see him in the WEC in 2018. Perhaps in a McLaren or maybe in a Porsche alongside Mark Webber.


For your info…Mark Weber has retired


but he may be alongside alonso…or even kimi and massa!


Mark Webber has just retired for Sports car Racing


Did Webber backflip on his retirement and agree to continue ??


Webber is also leaving!


I think Mark’s hanging up the boots.


He’s gone…but not forgotten.


I think he’s doing the right thing as, to me, he hasn’t seemed to be enjoying F1 for most of this season, evidenced by the constant moaning about the McLaren being undriveable! I’d rather remember JB’s rendition of ‘We are the Champions’ on his slowing down lap at Interlagos seven years ago.


Yep, agree – he just seems to be ‘over it’ to me and pretty much has since the latter half of last year. He’s raced well enough and that Canada race in 2011 is probably the best I’ve ever seen.


Be sorry to see JB go, one of the “old school racers” , had a lucky break with Brawn but every champ needs a car that can win.


I’m glad he said this as it gives us a chance to reflect on the career of the gentlemen racer, and for the paddock to give a Jenson a proper send off.

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