ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Jenson Button is determined to enjoy every minute of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, hoping it will not be his Formula One farewell but knowing it could be.
The 2009 world champion is out of contract after the season-ender, with his McLaren team keeping him guessing about their intentions.
In the absence of a firm indication, the 34-year-old Briton said he was determined to enjoy the moment with family and friends.
“A lot goes through your head. And it has been for the last few months,” the Briton, whose 15th and last race win was in 2012, told reporters at the Yas Marina circuit.
“When you are out of the car you are unsure how to feel really. But when I drive the car nothing’s different. I feel so at home.
“I probably enjoy my driving a little bit more because I’m away from all the questions and away from people in the pitlane smiling at me more than normal. Or a little unhappy face. It’s a weird situation to be in, it really is,” he added.
McLaren are set to welcome back double world champion Fernando Alonso next year, with the Spaniard’s departure from Ferrari already announced, but have yet to decide whether to retain Button or Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.
While Magnussen is a talent for the future, Button has outperformed him and the sport’s most experienced current driver remains hungry for success as well as one of the fittest in the paddock.
He can be confident that Alonso wants him to stay but the decision will ultimately be taken by McLaren group head Ron Dennis, who is taking his time.
Button admitted that the uncertainty was playing on his mind, with his room at the track fitted out — by his physio and the BBC — with inspiring images from his past and of his much-missed father John.
“I hope this isn’t my last grand prix. I really do because I feel I have a lot to give. But of course there is something in the back of your mind thinking it possibly could be so you have to enjoy it as much as you can,” he said.
“I am here to do a job and I’ll do the best job I can but off circuit with family and friends, obviously we talk about things probably more than we would normally.”
Editing by Ian Chadband