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24th Nov 2016

Former F1 champ Jenson Button says Abu Dhabi GP is his last race – despite McLaren contract for 2018

"I don't want to be racing in F1 beyond this year"

Rob Burnett

Jenson Button says he is treating the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as his final Formula 1 race, despite having signed a contract for 2018.

The 2009 world champion has been racing in F1 since 2000 when he made his debut as a fresh-faced 20-year-old with Williams, before driving for Benetton, Renault, Honda and McLaren.

He recently signed a deal with the team for next year as a reserve driver, with the option to return.

But he said today: “I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race. I think that’s the best way.

“At this moment in time, I don’t want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.”

“It is true that I have a contract in 2018 but at this moment in time I am not going to be racing in 2018,” Button added.

“The whole point of this [contract for 2018] was if in three months’ time I had eaten myself stupid and I changed my mind.

“But I don’t want to go into this race thinking it’s not my last race and it is.”

He won the title with the Brawn team in 2009 before joining McLaren where he raced alongside Lewis Hamilton and later Fernando Alonso.

MONACO - DECEMBER 11: In this handout image provided by FIA, FIA Formula One driver Jenson Button (L) of Great Britain and Brawn Team Principal Ross Brawn pose with the respective FIA World Driver's Championship and FIA Constructors Championship trophies during the 2009 FIA Gala Prize Giving Ceremony held at the Salle des Etoiles Sporting Club on December 11, 2009 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by FIA via Getty Images) (Photo by FIA via Getty Images)


“It’s been a long journey since eight years old until now,” he said.

“You get to Formula 1 with many dreams and hopefully you leave the sport with memories – some amazing memories, some life-changing, some good, some bad. And also to walk away with the world championship is very special too.

“Over 300 grands prix and I will definitely step away from F1 happy with what I’ve achieved and definitely my life starts now.”

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