16 June 2011
Button denies seeking long-term McLaren deal
Jenson Button has said that he will not be looking to follow Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel by signing a long-term F1 contract - even with McLaren.
Jenson Button's early F1 career was plagued by apparent indecision over which team he really wanted to race for and, despite appearing a more settled individual since clinching the 2009 world championship title, the Briton seems no more certain about where he wants to be.
Since rumours surfaced between Monaco and Canada that Ferrari might be interested in pursuing the Briton's services should it dispense with Felipe Massa, Button has begun to recant on the assertion - made in respected British racing magazine Autosport - that he would more than likely end his F1 tenure with McLaren.
"When I finish racing here, I won't be racing in F1 anymore," Button said, fully six weeks before taking an amazing victory on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, "I'm very happy here, I want to enjoy my racing and I'm really enjoying my time here. I can't see any reason to be anywhere else.
"I'm driving for one of the best teams in the world. It's a position that most drivers would love to be in and I've worked very hard for it. I might be around for three years, five years.... I don't know."
Now, however, the Briton, who moved into second place in the standings following his Canadian victory, appears to have been seduced by the possible overtures from Maranello, and is denying that he ever considered chaining his future to the railings at Woking.
The apparent indecision has echoes of Button's earlier career, when he was twice caught in contract wrangles between Williams and British American Racing. In 2004, he chose to leave the latter to return to the team that gave him his F1 break, but F1's Contract Recognition Board ruled in favour of BAR, forcing him to stay. Then, the following season, he decided to go back on a deal he had struck with Williams in order to stay with the then more successful Brackley-based operation. This time, an estimated £18m changed hands by way of compensation as Button got his way and remained at BAR - a move that proved to be a catalyst to his world title success four years later.
While McLaren appears willing to ink a long-term deal with Button once his current contract expires in 2012, the 31-year old driver insists that, despite his earlier comments, he sees no reason to confine his options to one team.
"For me, it makes no sense to sign a long-term contract," he told Switzerland's Blick newspaper, "I don't know how I'm going to feel in a few years. I can't imagine racing at 40, I just want to race for as long as I can win.
"I've not had any calls about my future - McLaren has an option on me for next year, that's all I know. Many of my colleagues don't hesitate to secure for the long term, but I like it when my future is open. I will stop when I'm bored of going around in circles, or if I'm not fast enough."
One thing remains, however, and it would appear that Button isn't fussed where he might achieve a second world title.
"Should not I be world champion again, I certainly would not leave F1 thinking that I've missed something, but it is the nature of man to always want more than you have. [The memories of 2009] will never be far away and, even when I'm old and grey, it will feel like yesterday. There are memories that never fade. However, I'm still not so far [into my career] that I can sit back and rest on my laurels."
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