Button not keen to sign long McLaren deal

Jenson Button at Italian GP

Jenson Button at Monza

Sep.10 (GMM) Jenson Button has welcomed news he will be at McLaren next year but baulked at suggestions he will sign a contract for life.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said at Monza on Friday that the 2009 world champion, who can be automatically retained due to a one-year contract option, will definitely still be Lewis Hamilton’s teammate in 2012.

But the Briton also said he wants Button, 31, to commit for “the rest of his career” and thereafter be a brand ambassador.

The fact there is still some uncertainty about Button’s position at McLaren is believed to be due to the British driver wanting to keep his options open for 2013.

“I would love to stay here, yes,” Button said after Whitmarsh’s comments were reported. “I’m not trying to position myself with other drivers coming out of contract.

“The simplest thing would be to sort out next year, then we can sort out the rest later this year,” he added.

Button insists he feels little need to tie himself down with a long contract, despite suggestions in the British press that he is being offered a multi-year deal worth $120 million in total.

“I don’t feel I need to secure my position for the long term. I’m not at the start of my career so I don’t feel I need that,” he said.

“It’s nice to be in a position where, if you don’t feel right and don’t want to go racing any more, you can stop.”

He scolded the suggestion he is eyeing the Red Bull seat currently occupied by Mark Webber, or Felipe Massa’s cockpit at Ferrari.

“Would I retire happy without driving for Ferrari? Yes,” insisted Button.

  • Twiinz

    Unless he has dreams of driving for the Scuderia or RBR, I think he would be wise to sign on with Maclaren for a couple of years or more. That would give him the stability within the team to allow him to push for #1 status. Although most everyone thinks Hamilton is faster, Button has proved that consistency may be better in the bigger picture. I wonder how people within the team feel?

  • http://yallaF1.com F1 fan

    At least Jenson will be at Mclaren for next year anyway.

  • aknit

    I guess it’s a tough one. The question McLaren have to ask is – can they teach Hamilton to convert his driving skill into consistent podium-finishing point-scoring opportunities, or can they teach Button to go faster than Hamilton? It really is an interesting challenge.

    Things are Redbull are different. Vettel is quick and consistent. Some may say they have a quick car, but Webber isn’t doing as well, and many times, qualifying far down the order from where pole-sitter, Vettel, is.

    Same deal at Ferrari – Alonso tends to be quicker than Massa, and just as consistent. So it’s clear who the Number 1 driver in that team is.

    With McLaren, it’s more complicated, more so because Hamilton’s had a few bad runs this year. Moreover, if there’s anyone who’s had tons of WDC opportunities come his way and not have them materialize, it’s certainly Hamilton. But, he is the faster driver, and can pretty much drive the pants off anything that has wheels on it, regardless of the mechanical condition.

    A tough call for McLaren, if they’re trying to figure out who the Number 1 driver should be.