Jenson Button has admitted he seriously considered calling time on his F1 career as a dismal season driving the underperforming McLaren-Honda began to take its toll.
With McLaren's revived relationship with Honda yielding its worst season in 35 years as its struggled to make the MP4-30 both reliable and competitive, Button's dissatisfaction bubbled over into hints that it would be enough to make him leave F1.
Delaying his final decision until September, Button was eventually persuaded to stay with McLaren for another season, but he admits retirement had crossed his mind.
A turnaround from the previous year when McLaren almost dropped Button in favour of Kevin Magnussen, the Englishman admits he thought carefully about walking away from the sport on the back of ongoing troubles.
“Last year I wasn't sure if I'd be racing and it wasn't my choice," Button told Sky Sports F1
. "This year it was totally my choice and there was a moment where I thought 'I am not sure I want to do this anymore and be where we are. Obviously, if we are where we are right now next year, it is not going to be that enjoyable."
However, Button says his change of heart was brought about by the insistence of the team – in particular Ron Dennis – that the team's form will pick up in the future, the 2009 title winner saying he is reassured by the plans in place.
"I spent a lot of time with the engineers and the aerodynamicists and I spoke more with Ron [Dennis] in the two months when I was trying to decide what to do next year than I have in my whole time at McLaren.
"So a really good relationship there and we went through a lot of ideas for next year and spoke to the aerodynamicists and the engineers and got a real direction and understanding of where we are going and with Honda as well.
"So that got me excited, that got me pumped for next year knowing that there are big improvements on the horizon - and we need them.”
The most experienced driver in F1, Button's disappointing year nonetheless doesn't represent his worst season in F1, though previous bad campaigns in 2007 and 2008 did also come in Honda machinery.
McLaren, on the other hand, suffered its lowest finish in the constructors' standings since 1980, and it has now not won a race in three seasons.