Speculation mounts that Button will retire from F1

Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:05am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Jenson Button has increased speculation he is set to retire from Formula One after telling British reporters that the 'joy' of competing was missing and he had made a decision about his future.

Media reports suggested the McLaren driver, whose wife is Japanese, was likely to announce at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix that he would be leaving Formula One at the end of the year.

"The joy of being in the car is only there if you're fighting at the front, because you feel like you're achieving something," the 2009 world champion said after Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

"If you're fighting near the back, you're driving an F1 car, but you can easily get joy driving something else. The joy you get is from competing. It's about fighting at the front," added the Briton.

"It's about the possibility of standing on top of the podium. That's the joy of F1."

Button's words sounded markedly different to last season, when there was also considerable speculation about his future but he ended up staying while young Dane Kevin Magnussen was dropped to a reserve role.

Then, with the car still an unknown quantity, he was adamant he wanted to stay.

Magnussen would be a likely replacement if the 35-year-old does quit, although McLaren also have Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, leader of the GP2 support series, as a rising star to accommodate.   Continued...

McLaren's Jenson Button ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. F1 - Singapore Grand Prix 2015 - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - 17/9/15.  Action Images / Hoch Zwei