After 17 years and more than 300 race starts, Jenson Button heads to this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for what could very well be his final F1 race.
The 2009 F1 world champion will bow out of F1 after this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - in the short-term at least – having revealed in September of his plans to take a sabbatical.
Indeed, though Button says it is entirely possible the hiatus will indeed become retirement once he has had time to reflect on his options, such a final decision will not be made imminently.
Even so, though Button doesn't explicitly refer to this weekend's race as his F1 swansong, he acknowledges the 'special chapter' will stir some emotions as he takes a step back from a sport he has dedicated almost two decades of his life to.
“I'm really looking forward to this weekend, and have been for a few races now. It marks a very special chapter in my life and I'll have my friends and some of my family out in Abu Dhabi with me which I'm very excited about.
“It's going to be a hugely emotional weekend and I hope with the support of the fans, the team and the people that are closest to me, we can go out there and give it our absolute maximum and enjoy the weekend. It's not the end of my career with McLaren-Honda, but it's the start of a new phase that I'm incredibly positive about.
“This race marks the culmination of a huge amount of hard work, dedication and passion for the sport that I love and I'm immensely proud of everything I've achieved in the past 17 seasons, and the fantastic progress we've made over the past couple of years with McLaren-Honda.
“It's been an amazing project to work on and my involvement certainly won't end here. I'm looking forward to concluding this chapter in style and starting a new one with just as much enthusiasm, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.”
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Button – who will be replaced at McLaren-Honda by Stoffel Vandoorne in 2017 – will remain employed by McLaren as part of promotional activities next season, while he has also suggested he will make sporadic racing appearances in selected Super GT with Honda and possibly also emulate his father John Button by trying his hand at Rallycross competition.
Button has also been linked to television commentary or presenting roles.
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