It’s looking increasingly like Jenson Button is heading for the door at McLaren, with rumours going around the paddock that Alonso has finally agreed a 2+1 year deal with the Woking team for next season.
Button, who won the world championship in 2009 has had two fairly disappointing seasons in 2013-4, albeit with a lacklustre car in both years. Button has been downbeat in interviews this week – he’s been kept waiting by the team for too long while they have prevaricated over the 2015 driver line-up, and appears to have got to the point where he may not even accept an offer from McLaren if things don’t work out with Alonso. When he was asked by the BBC what he’d do if he was offered a drive with McLaren for 2015 he said:
That’s a good question that I can’t answer at this moment in time. When you’re not sure if your contract’s going to be renewed, it opens your eyes to different challenges and possibilities.
It’s thought that Button’s already had discussions with the Porsche WEC team about joining their Le Mans challenge for next year, but it’s also possible he might turn his back on racing altogether and concentrate on his other passion of Triathlon – he competed in a half Iron Man triathlon after the Singapore GP, and put in a performance that beat some of the elite professional athletes.
Lewis Hamilton has weighed in on the discussions about Button’s future too, talking about his respect for his former teammate and saying that he should still have a drive for next year:
If I had a team, I would want him in it because he’s a great asset. It’s not the team need a better driver – there are not many out there. They just need a better car.
Button has outperformed his teammate for the last two seasons – both Perez and Magnussen, but it’s likely that his high salary at the team is a key factor in his likely departure.