Button says Abu Dhabi will be his last race

Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:45am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Jenson Button says he has no plans to race again in Formula One after Sunday's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, even though McLaren are keeping the door open for a possible return in 2018.

"I go into this weekend thinking it is going to be my last race. I think that is the best way to be," the 2009 world champion told reporters on Thursday.

"At this moment in time I do not want to be racing in Formula One past this race. I think of this as my last race and hopefully everybody else does as well."

The 36-year-old Briton will be replaced at McLaren by Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne next season but the team have presented the veteran's departure as a year's sabbatical.

That was seen by many as more of an insurance policy in case Spaniard Fernando Alonso decided to walk away at the end of 2017, as well as strengthening McLaren's hand in contract negotiations.

Asked what had changed since September, when the announcement was made, Button said there was nothing in particular.

"I don’t want to go into this race and think it’s not my last. And it is my last," he said. "It is true that I have a contract for 2018 but at this moment in time I don’t want to be racing in 2018.

"The whole idea about having a contract was that in three months’ time, when I’ve eaten myself stupid and am thinking of things to do in the future and maybe feel I need Formula One back in my life...   Continued...

Formula One - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Japan - 8/10/16.McLaren's driver Jenson Button of Britain  prepares to wear his helmet during the third practice session. REUTERS/Toru Hanai