Jenson Button has confessed that Honda remains his 'best option' of remaining in Formula 1 in 2009 and insisted he does not
want to take a year out – as the future of both the beleaguered team and the British star's 153-race grand prix career hangs precariously in the balance.
Though the 28-year-old has been linked to Scuderia Toro Rosso and even a return to his former employers Williams – the squad with which he made his debut in the top flight back in 2000 – he has insisted that he is holding out hope that a buyer will be found for Honda, which put its F1 operation on the market just over a week ago in response to the sport's ever-escalating costs.
Whilst David Richards' independent Prodrive concern, Carlin Motorsport, Dubai Investment Capital and Ultimate Motorsport have all been mooted as potential investors, another name has now entered the frame too to purchase the Brackley-based outfit – that of French manufacturer PSA, which sells cars under the names Peugeot and Citroën, who are competing successfully in sportscars and world rallying respectively.
Belgian magazine Autosportnieuws
has reported that PSA – whose last involvement with F1 came as an engine-supplier to the ill-fated Prost team – is interested in re-joining the uppermost echelon as it has not been hit as hard by the global economic crisis as have been many of its competitors.
Moreover, the French government has vowed to financially support the automotive sector, provided Renault and Peugeot-Citroën promise to keep job losses and plant closures to a minimum.
Should PSA be successful in its bid to take over Honda, it is claimed that the driver line-up would consist of Button and current STR ace Sébastien Bourdais, who is still unsure about whether his services are to be retained by the Red Bull 'junior' concern into a second campaign.
“I'm happy staying where I am at the moment,” Button is quoted by F1SA
as having affirmed during Wembley Stadium's Race of Champions at the weekend. “This team is still my best option for 2009.
“I have some other options, though, admittedly limited because this has all happened so late in the year.”
Confident that a buyer will be found to rescue the defunct Honda operation, the former Hungarian Grand Prix winner also acknowledged that he can't wait forever for a saviour to come forward – as he cannot afford to run the risk of missing a season.
“That's a difficult question,” he admitted when asked how long he would keep the faith. “Who knows what is the right thing to do? I'd rather not take a year out, though. It's not good for a racing driver to be out of the sport.”