Button to leave McLaren (3rd Update)


Jenson Button has to wait for his walking papers

(GMM) Eric Boullier has admitted McLaren is looking to eventually "refresh" its driver lineup.

Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen only debuted this year, but Mexican Sergio Perez was also only a single season into his McLaren career when he was ousted at the end of 2013.

It is rumored strongly that, ahead of the start of its works Honda partnership, Woking based McLaren is seeking a top driver to spearhead the project, such as former team racers Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, or quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel.

"I can only do my best and hope that is good enough," said Magnussen.

"Anyone at McLaren should feel that you have to deliver to your best to deserve to be there and that goes for me and Jenson as well."

It is believed that if McLaren does oust a current driver to make way for a newcomer, it would be the 2009 world champion Jenson Button, 34, who is out of contract.

McLaren supremo Ron Dennis made waves recently when he urged Button to "try harder".

"Jenson knows the important thing is to score as many points as he can," team boss Boullier is quoted by Britain's Mirror newspaper.

"He doesn't have to prove anything as he is a world champion and has won many races for McLaren.

"We need to be realistic as well, because in one, two, three years we may need to refresh our driver lineup and obviously we will be seeking the best drivers at that moment in time," he added.

For his part, Button – the second-oldest driver in F1 but even more experienced than Kimi Raikkonen – insists he intends to stay on the grid for a sixteenth consecutive season in 2015.

"Right now, my interest is to race in F1," he said.

"In F1 the emotions are all over the place — it is highs, it is lows. I have lived my life like that for a long time and I want to continue my life like that.

"I am young and fast and enjoy what I do for a living, and I don't want that to change," added Button.

08/02/14 There is added pressure on Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen as Eric Boullier has said he will "wait" to finalize McLaren's 2015 line-up.

McLaren have long made it known that they are in no hurry to decide their driver line-up for next season.

This year the Woking team went with the experienced Jenson Button and rookie racer Kevin Magnussen. The partnership, though, has as yet failed to produce the results McLaren desire.

This has led to rumors that Button's days at Woking are numbered with the likes of Valtteri Bottas being linked to his race-seat while McLaren are also believed to be considering re-signing Fernando Alonso.

Boullier, though, says he is no hurry to make a decision and will rather wait to see how the driver market plays out.

"If any driver becomes available on the market, we will be interested to see if they fit," the McLaren Racing Director told Autosport.

"Our strategy, and I am not going to say we are going to change drivers, is we are in a position to wait.

"So we are going to wait until I understand what is going to be the driver market, not only for next year but also in the future years.

"The plan is to build McLaren for a long term at the top, and we need to know what we are going to do in three, four or five years."

Good news for Button, though, is that Boullier believes the 2009 World Champion is doing a "good" job.

Boullier added: "He is doing a good job. We want our drivers to give 100 per cent all the time.

"We want everybody to perform and, when you cannot get the performance you wish, it is sometimes difficult to accept it and you get frustrated.

"But it is the same for everybody and we need to push 100 per cent." PlanetF1

07/27/14 Jenson Button says he is unconcerned by rumors linking rival drivers to his McLaren cockpit.

In the run up to this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, reports suggested that the Woking-based outfit had sounded out both Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso over a potential future drive.

But Button does not envisage either of the two drivers wanting to leave their respective teams any time soon.

"I don't understand why Sebastian should want to leave Red Bull – and Fernando has a long-term contract with Ferrari so I don't see that," said the 2009 World Champion in an interview with the official Formula 1 website.

Button is hopeful that, despite McLaren Group CEO urging him to "try harder" shortly after the eighth round in Austria, he has shown enough so far this season to extend his stay at the squad into a sixth campaign.

"I would give myself 10 out of 10 (laughs)," Button said. "You have to have confidence in your ability, so in terms of working with the team and developing the car and finding a direction, I am very happy with what I've done."

Button sits eighth in the standings, one place and 22 points ahead of rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen.

07/04/14 Jenson Button raised the possibility of moving from McLaren as the fall-out from his boss Ron Dennis's ham-fisted criticism of him continued ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix.

Dennis said earlier in the week that Button should 'try harder' — holding the driver partly culpable for a season in which the team have failed to make the podium once.

The wording was typical of Dennis's old-school style of management, and caused ructions within the team. Eric Boullier, the racing director, is believed to have found the intervention unhelpful.

Speaking at Silverstone on Thursday, Button said sarcastically: 'I think Ron is practicing to be a motivational speaker, maybe. When we are in the position we have been in for the past 18 months, it is not easy. We all need to work harder as a team and we shouldn't be pointing a finger at any individual. I don't do things in half-measures. Everything is 100 per cent.'

At 34 and in his 15th season in Formula One, Button's future is a subject for debate for the first time. The team are keen to enlist a top-rank performer, believing that Button is 'a tenth or two' short of what is required.

Fernando Alonso is the first name on their shortlist, while Lewis Hamilton has also been in tentative dialogue with his old McLaren team.

Button, who wants to continue in the sport for a number of years, said: 'I would like to stay. This team has a bright future and the partnership with Honda (from next season) will help the team a lot. But this isn't the only team in Formula One…' That seemed to suggest he was putting himself on the market, albeit as his fall-back option.

A credible theory is that McLaren will stick with Button for another year, allowing Honda to bed in as partners. They could then save on Alonso's salary and redirect that money towards research and development, before bringing him in a year later.

Button said: 'Don't feel sorry for me — I still drive an F1 car for a living. I am not getting as much enjoyment as the guy who is winning but I am enjoying my job. I just wish we were further up the grid.

"The guys I work with in the team are doing an awesome job. Most won't have an influence on the development of the car but the mechanics are working flat out. They are used to being in a team that wins points and suddenly they are not. It is tough for them because they are not just here to be mechanics; they want to succeed and are a massive part of the team. It is difficult when you can't make a difference."

However clumsily expressed, Dennis's remarks raise an interesting question: can a 34-year-old bring the same enthusiasm as a new driver? Does he lay everything on the line as he did? Does the grind of travel — same airports, hotels and restaurants — and the cushion of multiple millions dull a driver's dedication?

It takes an exceptional person to remain as keen at the later stages of his career. Button said: 'When you have been in the sport a long time and if you believe in your ability, and feel you are at your peak, criticism shouldn't worry you.'

Button will wear a special pink helmet for the race in honor of his late father John, who passed away in January.

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