Jenson Button has branded his 2007 car 'a complete dog' and has threatened to quit the Honda team should its fortunes not improve next season.

One year on from scoring more points than anyone in the second half of 2006, the Briton managed just six points all year as Honda struggled to keep pace with the midfield, let alone manufacturer rivals Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW and Renault, and has said that he would be prepared to walk away in order to prolong his career.

Although he has been touted as a potential team-mate to new British sensation Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes next year - albeit more by enthusiastic supporters than F1 insiders - Button appears content to give Honda one more chance, mainly because his contract with the team allows freedom at the end of 2008 and he is keen not to become embroiled in another contract wrangle after causing two in as many years while torn between BAR and Williams.

"The car was a complete dog and I'm just not interested in racing like this any more," Button told Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "I remember after Hungary this year wanting to hit something. I'd won that same race twelve months previously and now I was there sitting in something which was undriveable."

Overtaken in the popularity and fame stakes by upstart rookie Hamilton - who came close to claiming the world title in his debut season, Button insisted that he would love to find Honda providing him with a championship contender in 2008, but admitted that, after five years with the combined BAR/Honda efforts, he had to put himself first.

"I have to start winning and, if I don't, then I have to be ruthless," he pointed out, "I'm not saying I expect to win the world title, but I do expect a dramatic improvement. There's an option in my contract which means we can all sit down and discuss the future at the end of the [2008] season. If things don't work out, that's exactly what I'll be doing."

It is not the first time that Button has suggested that he would review his career this season, having told the same newspaper in July that he may walk away from the sport altogether if results didn't improve.

"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."

While Button has played down the McLaren suggestions and appears set to remain with Honda next season, the position of veteran team-mate Rubens Barrichello seems less secure. Despite having been re-signed for 2008, the Brazilian's contract contains a performance clause and, with no points on the board in his worst season ever, he could be under threat should Honda decide to go for someone younger - or even launch a surprise swoop for the currently unattached Fernando Alonso.

While the Spaniard is as unlikely to accept overtures from Honda as he was from Japanese rival Toyota, there are several other drivers who may be under consideration at Brackley, including Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson. The current feeling, however, is that Barrichello may yet be given another year - in which he will become the most experienced F1 campaigner of all time - especially as reserve driver Christian Klien has officially severed ties with Honda to pursue a race drive elsewhere.

 

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