Jenson Button has sensationally announced he will leave Formula 1 should the performance of his Honda car not significantly improve within the next two years.

The Briton made the revelation after lining up a dismal 18th in qualifying for his home grand prix at Silverstone last weekend - the first time he has failed to make it beyond the Q1 cut all season. Though his fortunes would get somewhat better during the race with tenth position at the chequered flag, the damage - particularly coming as it did in front of his ever-loyal supporters - was already done.

"Two years ago I was second on the grid here," he told The Mail on Sunday, "so it was quite disappointing and not just because it was my home race. Our race pace was better than in qualifying, but it needs to be a hell of a lot better still."

Button has endured a torrid first half to the 2007 campaign, with little sign of any light at the end of the tunnel. Only once has he started inside the top ten on the grid, and only once has he finished in the points with eighth place in Magny-Cours. It is far less than he had hoped for going into his eighth season in the top flight.

"There will come a time when I get bored of finishing eighth," he stressed. "I'm in this sport to win and I won't want to keep on finishing eighth at best, which is what I've achieved this season with Honda. To be honest, I'd find it too tough to handle. If this continues then maybe in a couple of years I'll just call it a day and go and find something else to do."

Button's position is more than understandable, given the fact that in 2004 he finished third in the world drivers' championship and in the final six races of 2006 outscored every other driver in the field, Michael Schumacher and reigning double world champion Fernando Alonso included. He also took his maiden grand prix victory courtesy of a sublime performance in Hungary last year, only serving to accentuate Honda's dramatic fall from grace eleven months on.

Though he has repeatedly pledged his faith and support to the struggling Japanese manufacturer -now under yet another cloud following its implication in the Nigel Stepney spying row - Button's latest admission will surely sting them into action.

"You've got to stick together when times are tough," he underlined, "because we all have highs and lows. At the moment we're in a low but I still have high hopes. The best way to motivate the team is to drive my best and try and get a point or two, but also give plenty of feedback.

"Talking about giving up is very negative. The positive outlook is to say we can start winning races again next season and my confidence in my ability remains high. [Driving the best car on the grid] is something I still hope for in the future. I understand I'm in a bloody good job and that racing in F1 is my dream."

For more information on Button's career in the top flight, please consult:



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