Jenson Button has dropped a big hint that next year will not be in his last in Formula 1 – as he revealed huge excitement about the faster cars being planned for 2017.
F1 teams are hoping to finalise by the end of this month a raft of changes to the cars that should make them up to five seconds per lap quicker.
A meeting of technical chiefs is scheduled for Friday, when they hope to push on with agreeing on car width and aerodynamic specifications that will deliver what has been asked for.
Motorsport.com understands that the plan is for all the rules to be signed off by October 31, so teams can get on with preparing the designs well ahead of schedule.
The push for faster cars is likely to transform the challenge for drivers, something that Button believes would be reason for him to extend his F1 career beyond next season.
“There’s going to be so much more mechanical grip – from what I’ve seen it could be four or five seconds quicker a lap through mechanical grip and aerodynamics.
“That for me is exciting, that takes me back to 10 years ago. Also, I’ve just heard that next year they’re going to be making the cars sound a bit better!
“F1 isn’t in a bad place at the moment and it’s going to get better. Next year will be better and in 2017 F1 is going to be mega – I think there’s a lot of excitement out there.”
Honda gains to come
Button’s new contract with McLaren for next year was officially confirmed on Thursday, and comes with some optimism from the Briton about a step forward next year.
“We want to be succeeding and we want to be at the front, but every race we come to, there’s something new,” he said. “Honda are always improving and working flat out.
"On the engine side, I see improvements and I feel over the winter there’ll be a big gain. With the car, it’s good – there’s still a lot of work we need to do next year to be competitive, but it’s definitely going in the right direction.
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking with the team and there’s very good direction there, so I have a good feeling for the future."