Jenson Button says 'nothing has changed' despite Fernando Alonso's exit from Ferrari
But is the veteran running out of patience with McLaren after the team delay decision on their 2015 line-up until December?
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 24/11/14 3:16pm
Jenson Button has hinted he may be prepared to quit McLaren before the team make a decision on their 2015 driver line-up.
The Woking outfit are understood to have concluded a deal with Fernando Alonso that will see the Spaniard return to the team following his long-anticipated severance from Ferrari. The paddock's worst-kept secret was made official on Thursday when the Scuderia confirmed that the two-time World Champion will leave at the end of the season.
However, it remains unclear - and indeed apparently undecided - whether Button or Magnussen will partner Alonso next year, with an announcement confirming the team’s 2015 driver line-up delayed until December. The adjournment raises the realistic possibility that Button will race for the final time in F1 this weekened in Abu Dhabi without being offered the opportunity to say farewell to a sport he has graced for almost 15 years.
"Nothing has changed for me for the last two months. I've got nothing else to add apart from that I will go into this weekend looking forward to it. I've learnt to live in the moment this year,” said Button.
Speaking to Sky F1, the 2009 World Champion added: "It’s been a tough few months. At the end, whichever way it goes, you have to respect the decision that people make and there are always reasons for making those decisions. For me, the positive which has come out from the last few months has been the support of the fans – I feel like I’ve had more support than when I won the World Championship.
"I get pretty emotion when I look at social media and see the support I have had. It’s very special – although l can’t really mention what they say! All l can say is that whatever l am doing next year, whether that is here, WEC, or something completely different, I will be at my best and at my peak. I’ll be out to win.”
It’s believed that Button has not been given any indication as to whether the team are leaning towards retaining him or Magnussen next term. But having sounded resigned to his fate two weeks ago, Button’s demeanour on media day in Thursday appeared to be one of exasperation with the team’s dithering.
"Will l wait for their decision? That's something I cannot comment on at the moment,” he told reporters. "It's been an interesting few months. When you have been in F1 for so many years, you have your blinkers on, but when you are put in an uncomfortable situation your eyes are opened to other possibilities and there are a lot of challenges out there.”
Button, expected to switch to Sports Car racing if he is dropped by McLaren, has scored almost twice as many points as Magnussen this term and is understandably keen on the team's decision being guided by the season as a whole rather than events this weekend.
"I would hope that a result this weekend would not change my fate for the future, I feel that I bring a lot more to a team than one race and my career speaks a lot louder than one individual race," he added.
In an amusing climax to Thursday’s press conference, Alonso was asked whether he would prefer to have Button as his team-mate rather than Magnussen. “I don't know where l will be,” the Spaniard eventually replied as a joking Button looked longingly in his direction.