SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Jenson Button is hoping that McLaren will not let him go for love nor money.
With Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso expected to join the Formula One team, the focus has been on which of 2009 world champion Button and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen will partner the Spaniard.
McLaren are believed to be divided, with Magnussen offering potential and seen as a cheaper option while Button is a hugely experienced race winner.
“Whatever happens next year, the money is not the issue in any way, shape or form — for me, anyway,” the 34-year-old told British reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix, possibly the penultimate race of his career.
“Whether I’m racing here or racing somewhere else, I do it because I love it,” added Button, who finished an impressive fourth at Interlagos while Magnussen had a difficult afternoon and was ninth.
“I still want to earn money because I feel I have achieved and I feel that I should get paid for what I do in an F1 car or in a racing car and for what I bring to a team.
“But...I will race somewhere even if I’m not getting the big bucks, unlike a few drivers who are out there.”
Double world champion Alonso is one of the highest paid drivers, with reports suggesting he has already signed to join McLaren at the start of a new partnership with Honda.
The Spaniard has said he hopes the Briton will still be around next year.
Button, who suspected Alonso had little say in the matter, said he had also felt a wave of warmth from fans on social media.
“There’s so much support. It makes you very emotional,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s more than when I won the world championship.”
A similar show of love from McLaren would be appreciated.
“You want to feel like you are wanted within a team and part of the family,” he said. “It’s like if your parents were to turn round and say ‘You know what, we’re not sure if we want you at Christmas this year. But your brother can come, he’s great,’
“You want to feel like you are part of the family and that they want you to be part of the family. That’s more important than cash.”
Editing by Rex Gowar