McLaren's Neale hints Button has had enough

Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:01am EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - McLaren hinted on Friday that Jenson Button was planning to call time on his Formula One career but said they still hoped to persuade Britain's 2009 world champion to stay with them next season.

"Jenson is a fantastic guy, a world champion and a big part of our family at Honda and McLaren for six seasons," managing director Jonathan Neale told reporters after a wet day of practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

"We are contracted with him, we want him to stay and we like him very much," he added.

"But if your driver doesn’t really want to be in the seat, then we have to respect that."

Button's future has become a hot topic in the Formula One paddock, with mounting speculation earlier in the week that he was planning an announcement at his favorite circuit.

Instead, the 35-year-old told reporters that they would have to wait for news.

Neale noted that had come as something of an anti-climax for the media but the team wanted to continue discussions with Button.

Former champions McLaren, in a new partnership with Honda, have had an abject season with the engine uncompetitive and unreliable and no match for dominant Mercedes.   Continued...

 
McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button (L) of Britain gives his autoraph to a fan at the paddock area after the second practice session in Suzuka, Japan, September 25, 2015, ahead of Sunday's Japanese F1 Grand Prix. REUTERS/Thomas Peter