Former Formula One champion Jenson Button has stated he does not miss the racing series where he spent his career.
Button was speaking on the weekend of the Japanese Grand Prix in his role as McLaren reserve driver and ambassador. In one of the few appearances the Somerset-born racing driver has made in front of media on an F1 weekend, he told Autosport that he found his time away from Formula One to be liberating as he enjoys life in America away from the world’s top single-seater racing series.
“Do I miss F1? No I don’t.
“I miss racing. I’ve sort of fallen out of love a little bit with motorsport.
“I think that maybe I left it a year too long racing in F1.”
Button said, while backing former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the driver’s title, that he enjoyed his Monaco GP outing as the Briton was a stand-in for Fernando Alonso who raced in the Indy 500. The 2017 F1 cars, he said, were much enjoyed by the current drivers and the sponsors and fans in return would benefit.
“They are happy, they enjoy driving these cars which helps the sport, drivers are in a better place which helps the sponsors, helps the team and the fans love it.”
The 15-time GP winner with eight pole positions remarked that his recent drive in the Super GT series has reignited his passion for racing following three seasons of scrapping for F1’s crumbs with McLaren which left him jaded.
“As soon as we finished, I wanted to get back in the car and do it all again,” he said.
“It has been a while since I’ve had that feeling.”
Discussing 2018’s plans, McLaren’s reserve driver declared his intention to be on a racetrack but stopped short of committing to any return to racing in F1. He listed some options that interested him including the Le Mans round of the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA SportsCar Championship, a leading North American sports car championship. Commenting upon the dearth of car manufacturers in WEC, Button was adamant that he would only take part if given if a competitive car.
“The GT category is great but I’m not sure I can be in a car being overtaken by DP cars. That’s something I can’t get my head around,” he said.
“I’d love to do Le Mans at some point, but I’m not sure it’s the right time to jump in and do it.
“I think the LMP2 category is awesome, there are so many teams, it has a lot of talented drivers but you have P1. I can’t get my head around racing a car that is 20 seconds slower than something else.”
The 2009 Monaco GP winner stressed he had no desire to follow ex-F1 team-mate Fernando Alonso to Indycar as the close nature of oval racing too much to handle.
“There are some great drivers racing in IndyCar, but it scares the **** out of me,” he said.
“I’m amazed they still race. Very brave guys.
“But I wouldn’t touch that. I don’t feel it’s necessary at this point in my career.