6 September 2015
F1 Italian Grand Prix: McLaren keen but Button coy on 2016 deal?
McLaren may signal its intentions to keep hold of Jenson Button, but the man himself suggests the final decision could really be up to him.
Having dropped its clearest hint yet that it wants to retain Jenson Button for the 2016 Formula 1 season, McLaren may not quite get its way after the man himself said he wanted 'discuss away from the circuit over the next few days'.
Having been picked over 2014 team-mate Kevin Magnussen when McLaren determined who would join Fernando Alonso in the team for 2015, Button's seat is once again under threat from Magnussen again, as well as GP2 Series champion-elect Stoffel Vandoorne.
Despite this, with McLaren-Honda keen to retain an experienced pairing as it works to bring its car up to competitive speed, Eric Boullier used the Italian Grand Prix to tell the media that he 'intends' to keep Button alongside the contracted Alonso.
However, Button has hinted that McLaren's intentions don't make the deal a foregone conclusion, saying he wants to make a decision 'either way' in the next few weeks.
“I think that is something we need to discuss away from the circuit over the next few days,” he said, when asked to comment on Boullier's words. “I think it is always in your hands, so hopefully over the next few weeks we can decide either way.”
Button's words come after yet another tough race day in the Italian Grand Prix, the former champion's bright start – which saw him ascend to ninth – serving to highlight the gulf in performance to rivals as they quickly demoted him back to an eventual 14th.
“There were a lot of incidents at the start, so I enjoyed that and then it was a case of waiting for them to come by. They are overtaking you in places you didn't think was possible, so the whole time you are looking in your mirrors on the entry to every corner, which is really unusual.
“We are not deploying out of turn five or the exit of turn seven, so we are 160HP down on other people, so it is that plus the deficit we have on the ICE.
“It is tricky, but the car was reasonably enjoyable to drive, which is nice to feel after the race, which I hope puts us in good stead in Singapore.”
Button's comments are likely to spark up speculation about his future, particularly as options in the F1 paddock are likely to be limited to Lotus/Renault, Haas and Manor.
Alternatively, Button could yet see a revival of interest from Porsche, which was known to be keen to sign him for its World Endurance Championship effort for 2015.
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