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McLaren decision may force Button into early retirement

Button sen waving to the crowd before the 2014 Belgian GP on Aug. 24th.
Button sen waving to the crowd before the 2014 Belgian GP on Aug. 24th.
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Word has it that McLaren is looking to hire a “big” name for its 2016 team, with an eye on re-recruiting Fernando Alonso back from Ferrari, even though his contract with the Italian team does not expire for two more years. Alonso originally left McLaren at the end of year of a three-year contract following a major clash with (then) team principal Ron Dennis. Other drivers possibly being considered (should Alonso choose to stay with Ferrari, or Ferrari refusing to let him out of their contract) are Sebastian Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton, both of which have team commitments due to expire the end of next year. Considering the way the feud between Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Rico Rosberg has been escalating, he might find an offer from McLaren appealing, depending on how CEO Toto Wolff handles matters, especially after the big blow up following the both the Hungarian and Belgium Grand Prixs. Hamilton previously drove for McLaren before moving on to Mercedes, so this would also be a sort of “homecoming” for him as well.

Either way, if McLaren does sign one of the named drivers, it will most likely mean the end of Jenson Button’s tenure with the team, forcing the British driver to retire from F1 following a 15-year career (5 of which has been with McClaren). In fact, he has admitted that that the 7 remaining races of the season may well be his last.

“We haven’t sat down and talked about it, but If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it but I feel I have so much more to give and I can’t imagine life without motorsport and especially Formula One,” he told the BBC.

Born January 19, 1980, Jenson Alexander Lyons MBE, has 259 career starts behind him, and was F1 World Champion in 2009, driving for Brawn GP. He won a record-equalling 6 of the first 7 races that season and led in throughout the year. His success also helped Brawn GP to secure the World Constructors' Championship.

He moved to McLaren in 2010 (after Mercedes bought out Brawn), partnering former World Champion Lewis Hamilton. After finishing fifth for the team in 2010, Button finished as runner-up for the 2011 season, then came back to take his 1st pole for McLaren in Belgian the following year. All in all, Button has had 15 career wins and achieved 50 podium finishes. has won 15 with a total of 50 podium finishes. He currently stands 8th with 68 points in this year's F1 drivers' championship race.