Button not in but not out at McLaren

Much of McLaren’s future driver lineup will have, one assumes, something to do with the availability and contractual arrangements of a potential driver. Standard rumors has a name for that driver and he’s called Fernando Alonso. It’s unclear as to if Alonso will join the folks in Woking for a homecoming of sorts in 2015 but with that prospect alive, many feel Jenson Button is on his way out of Formula 1.

It’s a shame if I’m honest because I’ve always liked Button’s race craft, keen awareness and ability to drive sublimely in the rain as well as win when the car is on song. At 263 starts, 1,166 career points and 50 podiums, the British driver has done well since his first race in Australia back in 2000.

I’d hate to see him go and many believe his resurgent form of late is that of a man driving for a job. McLaren team boss, Eric Boullier, says that’s not the case:

“We don’t need him to deliver an extra job on track to – let’s say – save his job,” Boullier said.

“We know the value of Jenson and we know he is a world champion-class driver and he has been a world champion already.”

I’d say he’s a known entity and I would also suggest that the resurgence of McLaren has more to do with the team developing the car over the season than Button displaying desperation. One might argue that is the case for Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso but Button is a veteran and his abilities are well known.

Having said that, Boullier does seem to be working something out behind the scenes and many believe it is the Alonso factor or contract. Still, some have argued that even if the team do bring Alonso in, rookie Kevin Magnussen should be the one sent down instead of Button. Jenson has scored nearly twice the points as Magnussen has this year.

That’s a harsh decision as Magnussen has done a very good job in his first year and does show a lot of promise. Irrespective, Boullier is working the angles and says that they will hopefully have a decision before the end of the season and he understands the pressure this puts on Button:

“I understand obviously that (Button) may not feel comfortable and obviously he’s concerned about his future,” Boullier added.

“I’m in charge of McLaren Racing and we have to build the best for the team. Drivers are obviously very important in the discussion and Jenson is more than considered to stay with us for the long term.

“But we are still investigating what we want to do with our driver line-up, once we have all the data in our hands.”

If Button is released, where would be the most likely place for him? If I were Williams, it would be great to see him return but they have Massa and Bottas inked for 2015. What about Lotus? Could you see Button moving to a smaller team like Sauber or Force India?

Hat Tip: BBC Sport


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