McLaren's Jenson Button: I stayed in Formula 1 a 'year too long'

Jenson Button thinks he stayed in Formula 1 a year too long, and consequently fell out of love with motorsport

McLaren's Jenson Button: I stayed in Formula 1 a 'year too long'

But his recent Suzuka 1000km Super GT outing has rekindled his enthusiasm and made him determined to return to full-time competition in 2018.

Button said a year away from F1, Monaco one-off aside, had been "lovely, and it has been necessary as well" as he could "sit down and have a little chat to myself".

While he admitted that driving the "monster" 2017 cars at Suzuka "must be pretty special", he had no regrets about stepping out of the cockpit.

"Do I miss F1? No," said Button on a visit to the F1 paddock in Japan with McLaren.

"I miss racing. I've sort of fallen out of love a little bit with motorsport.

"I think that maybe I left it a year too long racing in F1."

Though his Suzuka 1000km appearance was blighted by punctures and penalties, Button said he "absolutely loved it" and had been inspired to get back to racing.

"As soon as we finished, I wanted to get back in the car and do it all again," he said.

"It has been a while since I've had that feeling.

"Next year I will be racing something. I don't know what yet, whether it will be in America, or Europe, or Japan.

"There are a few options and I want to do a full season and take it properly seriously."

Asked what other series appealed to him, Button highlighted the "growing" IMSA SportsCar Championship - provided he could get a drive in the top class.

"The GT category is great but I'm not sure I can be in a car being overtaken by DP cars. That's something I can't get my head around," he said.

"I'd love to do Le Mans at some point, but I'm not sure it's the right time to jump in and do it.

"I think the LMP2 category is awesome, there are so many teams, it has a lot of talented drivers but you have P1. I can't get my head around racing a car that is 20 seconds slower than something else."

Button was adamant he had "no interest" in either IndyCar or Formula E.

"There are some great drivers racing in IndyCar, but it scares the shit out of me," he said.

"I'm amazed they still race. Very brave guys.

"But I wouldn't touch that. I don't feel it's necessary at this point in my career.

"Formula E, it definitely has its place.

"I think it's great for manufacturers, the technology that is being used, it's going to keep growing, but again, it's not something that excites me.

"I want to go racing and have fun. I want to hear the engine, I want to hear it roar.

"I want to drive something that has 600+ horsepower. It's what I grew up with."

shares
comments
Renault F1 confirms contentious FIA tech man as executive director

Previous article

Renault F1 confirms contentious FIA tech man as executive director

Next article

Japanese GP practice: Lewis Hamilton fastest but session a washout

Japanese GP practice: Lewis Hamilton fastest but session a washout
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021