Jenson Button has revealed he is treating this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as his final race in F1, but stopped short of saying it represents his definite retirement from the series.
In September Button announced he would be taking a sabbatical from the sport next year but made it clear he does have an option to return in 2018 if he so wishes, despite the team signing Stoffel Vandoorne in his place.
As the final round of the weekend in Abu Dhabi has neared however, Button says he will focus on taking time out from racing altogether in 2017, save for a handful of appearances in other disciplines, likely to be Super GT and rallycross.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Button admits he is prepared to accept in his mind that Abu Dhabi will represent his 305th and final start in F1.
“I go into this weekend thinking it's going to be my last race,” said Button. “I think that's the best way. It is going to be my last race. At this moment in time, I don't want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.”
“I think of this as my last race and hopefully everyone else does as well. It's been a long journey since eight years old until now I've been racing in motor sport.”
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Button went on to clarify his comments by explaining nothing has changed since his initial sabbatical announcement at Monza but did underline he has no current intentions of returning to F1 in 2018.
“Nothing has changed [since Monza announcement], I just want to go into the race thinking it is my last F1 race,” he said. “It is true I have contract for 2018 but at this moment in time I don't want to be racing in 2018.
“The whole idea of the contract was that in three months time thinking about the future and if I felt I needed F1 back in my life. But at this moment in time that is not the case, I feel this is my last race. But that may change.”
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