Jenson Button Expected to Retire from Formula 1 this Weekend, Could Join Top Gear Cast

Jenson Button 1 photo
Photo: Jenson Button/Facebook
After 15 years of racing at the highest level in Formula 1, Jenson Button (35) is now apparently ready to call it a day. The info comes via The Telegraph that claims an announcement in this regard will be made this week, before the Japanese Grand Prix scheduled for the weekend.
Some might think that since Jenson is one of the oldest drivers in the F1 ring, that may be the main reason why he’s quitting but the truth of the matter is, his decision comes after a combination of factors worked their magic on him.

Apparently, the biggest of them all is the fact that McLaren can’t offer him a competitive car, as the Honda engine seems to be behind its competition this year. With prospectives for next year not looking great, things could turn out grim for the 35-year old.

Furthermore, the competition with younger drivers never bothered the Brit but it seems like the team principal, Ron Dennis, is trying to oust him intentionally these days, to make room for new faces.

Jenson managed to fend off pressure in the past and after teaming up with youngster Kevin Magnussen behind the wheel of McLaren’s F1 cars in 2014, he's now racing alonside Fernando Alonso. However, sources claim that the principal is looking to replace him with Stoffel Vandoorne, one of the team’s test drivers.

Vandoorne showed great promise in Formula 4, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 3.5 while in the GP2 standings he’s holding a firm grip on the lead. Even so, it won’t be easy to fill in the shoes left empty by Button.

A look at Jenson’s achievements

Back in 2000, a 20-year old Jenson Button was joining Williams in F1 and ever since that day, the British driver never missed a grid. The man was even poised to score his first points on his debut race in Australia, but his engine failed just 11 laps before the checkered flag was raised.

A year later he moved to Benetton where he ‘enjoyed’ his worst seasons of his career due to personal life problems, an issue Button admitted was of his own making. In 2003, he moved to BAR with which he managed to score his first podium in Malaysia in 2004.

It was during the same year that he managed to claim his first pole position, at Imola, during a season dominated by Ferraris. Even so, at the end of the season, he came in third overall.

However, a race win still eluded him and that happened for the first time in 2006, at Hungaroring, after starting off 14th on the grid. Joining Honda the next year, Jenson was once again disappointed and left without a job when the Japanese pulled out of F1 altogether in 2008.

Rising like the Phoenix, though, Jenson joined forces with Ross Brawn that bought the place left open by Honda, the two winning Jenson’s first World Championship in 2009. They used a Mercedes engine in the endeavor.

In 2010 though he moved once again, this time to McLaren where he would be joined by then-rising-star, Lewis Hamilton. Over the years, the veteran outscored the rookie but titles still evaded him. As time went by, he soldiered on but the recent disastrous cars he was handed made him consider leaving F1 for good.

What’s next?

Jenson could follow other famous F1 drivers after leaving the top motorsport in the world. He could be joining Porsche or some other manufacturer at Le Mans like Mark Webber did before him.

Rumors linked the Brit to such a move before but they are also placing him in GT racing for McLaren or Super GT series for Honda. Either way, he has options.

Another rumor claims that he could join Chris Evans as part of the cast of the rebooted Top Gear show. According to undisclosed sources, the BBC management sees him as charismatic on screen and with a huge potential in this regard. Either way, we can only wish him the best (and maybe we’ll see him posing as the Stig in no time).
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