Button: You can’t have everything in life!
29 October 2011
Jenson Button appears to have accepted that he may never drive for Ferrari, just months after admitting that the Prancing Horse was among the teams he most admired as a youngster.
The Briton inked a 'long-term' contract extension with the McLaren team ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix but, despite backtracking on claims that he may retire in a couple of years, seemed to rule out a switch to Maranello before he did call time on his career in the top flight.
"You can't have everything in life!" he told the official F1 website, "A team name can be exciting, and what they've achieved, but you always have to be in the right environment and the right situation for your personal needs - and I definitely have found that for me [at McLaren]."
Button admitted that he had explored other options prior to re-signing with McLaren, but joked that he was merely trying to discover what the Woking team's rivals had planned for the future. Although he was linked to both Ferrari and world champion Red Bull, the Briton ultimately decided to remain with the squad that has carried him to second in the 2011 standings with three races to run.
"You always ask questions and try to find information about other teams, but this is definitely the best place for me," the 2009 world champion insisted, "I think it was knowing what I have here. It is a very good environment and I feel very much at home - already after one-and-a-half years.
"I have a fantastic team around me, and that is key to performing well and fighting for a championship. But it is also that I know that we can build so much more than what we have, and that everything is going in the right direction. A lot of the time in my career I have been in a team where I felt that there was no direction and, as soon as they got direction, you could see things moving forward - like at Honda when Ross Brawn joined.
"That is so important if you want to succeed in F1, so I am happy where I am because this is a team that will always fight for the world championship and whether they do or not is down to us [drivers] - including me."
Button admitted that it had not been an easy decision to leave Brawn GP immediately after securing his longed-for world title, but insisted that he needed to move on and find another means of motivating himself.
"It is never an easy decision to make when you've just won the world championship, especially when you have been with that team for so long," he said, reflecting on a relationship that spanned BAR and Honda prior to Ross Brawn's takeover, "It was our goal to win the championship. We had fought for that dream for six years and finally we won it, so we'd fulfilled our goal and I was looking for another challenge. [I found that] to race with another team, alongside a very competitive team-mate, but also to race for a team that had won multiple titles.
"That idea was very exciting for me. There were three teams when I was growing up: one was McLaren, one was Ferrari and one was Williams. And McLaren is the one that gave me the best opportunity for the future."
And, as far as retirement is concerned, Button admits that he has moved on from thoughts that he may have just a few years left in the top flight.
"When I won the world championship and my [McLaren] contract was done, I definitely felt that I could also finish my career," he conceded, "But now, two years further down the line, I don't feel that this contract will be my last one. I've seen so many drivers finishing their careers earlier than they should have and regretting it dearly, so we have all that experience to look at. The fact is that I am doing something I love and something that I am good at and not a lot of people get that opportunity."
Despite backtracking on his claims of retirement, however, Button revealed that he has been giving some thought to where he may go in the future.
"I could imagine looking after younger drivers," he announced, "A driver who has gone through some good and hard times could really help younger drivers to achieve their dream - not just teach them how to be fast, but how to work with engineers and the rest of the team for the benefit of both ends. There are so many things drivers have to take in - nutrition, training regime, all that - and it is probably hard to listen to a manager who has never raced, so these are assets that I bring to the table.
"That would interest me [but], on a personal level, I would like to take part in the Ironman world championship triathlon and race in another category - maybe DTM or something else. I definitely want to be racing beyond my F1 career."