BRITISH GP: Jenson Button not treating Silverstone date as his last
Jenson Button insists he will not treat Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone as his last appearance in front of his home crowd despite facing an uncertain future beyond this season.
The 36-year-old is out of contract with McLaren at the end of the current campaign, and it is widely expected that he will be replaced by the team’s highly-rated Belgian reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
While there could be other options available for Button next year - most notably Williams, the team with whom he started his grand prix journey in 2000 - Sunday’s race, in front of what is expected to be a record crowd at the Northamptonshire track, could yet be his final outing.
But when asked whether he would be harbouring any additional emotions in the build-up to his 17th, and potentially last home race, Button replied: “No.
“There is no point thinking it might be my last because then I have to go through those emotions again if it isn’t.
“In a way it would be a shame if I didn’t think of it as my last British Grand Prix and it was, but then again I don’t want to go into the weekend thinking ‘oh, it is going to be my last’, and then you get to the end of the year and think ‘I want to do another season’.
“It doesn’t make your last British Grand Prix so special then.
“I will just go into it looking for a good weekend with no emotional attachments to it in terms of it being my last race. All I know is that I will do my best with what I have available, and that is all I can do in front of the home crowd.”
Button, who secured his best result of the season with a sixth-place finish in a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, has never won his home race.
Indeed the 2009 world champion’s time in Formula One has been plagued by a Silverstone hoodoo. Despite stepping on to the podium 50 times in his career, the Englishman is yet to record a top-three finish at the British Grand Prix.
“That really hurts, but I can’t do anything about that now,” Button said. “Would I rather have a world championship than win the British Grand Prix? Yes, of course. So, I have achieved my main target in Formula One.
“But there is one thing that is definitely missing and that is the British Grand Prix - and it is not just the win, it’s even being on the podium.”
And with Button’s McLaren-Honda package still way off the pace, Button does not expect his podium-less streak to end on Sunday.
“I can do as good a job as I possibly can, but we won’t be fighting for a podium,” Button added. “There is another British guy that will be, but I won’t have that opportunity which is a shame.”