Button believes he decided his F1 exit too early

Jenson Button says he regrets having made a decision on his Formula 1 exit so early in the season, as he admits he is still excited to be racing.

The 2009 world champion revealed at the start of September that he would not be racing in Formula 1 next year, making way for Stoffel Vandoorne in McLaren's 2017 line-up.

Button will compete in what is likely to be his last F1 race tomorrow in Abu Dhabi.

But the Briton, 36, feels that he should have delayed his decision until later in the season, conceding that it had led to a change in mindset.

"I still feel August is quite early, personally. I think when a driver decides he is going to leave or retire from that sport, I think you should try and do it as late as possible," said Button.

"I think I did it way too early. I think the mindset definitely changes which is a shame, I didn't think it would but it definitely does.

"Tomorrow for me is a big day but I don't go into the last race saying 'I can't wait til it's over', I go into the last race excited, knowing that I'm going to have a great race and I will give it my all as I do every grand prix."

Button said, however, that he had no second thoughts about his decision.

"I'm very happy with my decision," he said. "Who knows what's going to happen next year, but that's not the reason for leaving the sport.

"It's just the right time. The thought process that I had in August, long months to really think about the past, present and future. It's definitely the right thing for me to be doing.

"I'm hoping the team are competitive next year, I'll still be part of the team and looking forward to the few races I'll be at next year."

Button insisted he did not want to say he is retiring, and he will still be working with McLaren next season.

"I'm not retiring. It's a bad word and it's thrown around too often. I'm 36 years old, I'm definitely not retiring. I'll be working here with the team next year.

"I will be racing in other things and in the future I will be driving til I'm 70 odd years old. I'm not retiring until then - it's just whether I get paid to do it or not, that's the only difference."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news