Button: I stayed in Formula 1 a year too long

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Button: I stayed in Formula 1 a year too long
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Oct 6, 2017, 6:03 AM

Jenson Button thinks he stayed in Formula 1 a year too long, a move he feels led to him falling out of love with motor racing for a while.

Jenson Button, Team Mugen
#16 Team Mugen Honda NSX-GT: Hideki Mutoh, Daisuke Nakajima, Jenson Button
Jenson Button, Team Mugen
 Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, is interviewed by Jenson Button, McLaren, on the podium
Jenson Button, Team Mugen
#16 Team Mugen Honda NSX-GT: Hideki Mutoh, Daisuke Nakajima, Jenson Button
Jenson Button, McLaren
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 and Jenson Button, McLaren on the podium
 Jenson Button, McLaren
 Jenson Button, McLaren
#16 Team Mugen Honda NSX-GT: Hideki Mutoh, Daisuke Nakajima, Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 talks, Jenson Button, McLaren in parc ferme

But a recent outing in the Suzuka 1000km has helped rekindle his enthusiasm for the sport, and has made him determined to return to full-time competition in 2018.

Speaking during an appearance at the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday, Button said that a year away from F1, despite his one-off outing in Monaco, has been essential for reflecting on his career and realising exactly what he wanted to do.

"It has been lovely and it has been necessary as well," said Button about his year in America. "Lots of things have happened in my career that I have not had time to think about at the moment in time.

"I've needed this year to sit down and have a little chat to myself about what has happened. It has been good.

"Obviously I did the race in Monaco, the race we can forget about, but qualifying I loved. Driving these monsters in Monaco...and the other race that really stands out is this one, driving a 2017 car must be pretty special. But do I miss F1? No.

"I miss racing. I've sort of fallen out of love a little bit with motorsport. I think that maybe I left it a year too long racing in F1."

Button said that the run in the Suzuka 1000km with Honda has especially rekindled his enthusiasm to get back behind the wheel properly next year.

"I came away from it, we didn't get a very good result, as we had every issue you could possibly have, but I came away and I felt that I had the love back for racing," he said. "I absolutely loved it.

"As soon as we finished, I wanted to get back in the car and do it all again. It has been a while since I've had that feeling.

"I've been itching to drive anything to be fair. Next year I will be racing something. I don't know what yet, whether it will be in America, or Europe, or Japan. I don't know.

"There are a few options and I want to do a full season and take it properly seriously."

IndyCar 'scares me'

While Button may yet continue some form of working relationship with McLaren, having been reserve driver this year, he says his focus is mainly on finding a full time cockpit in sportscars.

When asked what series is appealing to him he said: "I think IMSA, I don't know what it is called now, DP cars, I love there is a selection of tubs that they race with and then they can make it their own with the aerodynamic package and power unit. So there are a few manufacturers racing there, which is great.

"It's a growing sport, motorsport in America. The GT category is great but I'm not sure I can be in a car being overtaken by DP cars. That's something I can't get my head around.

"I'd love to do Le Mans at some point, but I'm not sure it's the right time to jump in and do it. I think the LMP2 category is awesome, there are so many teams, it's a lot of talented drivers but you have P1. I can't get my head around racing a car that is 20 seconds slower than something else."

Button is clear, however, that he has no interest in other major single seater categories like IndyCar or Formula E.

"No interest. IndyCar, there are some great drivers racing in IndyCar, but it scares the shit out of me," he said. "I'm amazed they still race. Very brave guys. But I wouldn't touch that. I don't feel it's necessary at this point in my career.

"Formula E, it definitely has its place, I think it's great for manufacturers, technology that is being used, it's going to keep growing, but again, it's not something that excites me.

"I want to go racing and have fun. I want to hear the engine, I want to hear it roar. I want to drive something that has 600+ horsepower. It's what I grew up with.

"I used to go to places like Donington or Castle Combe and you'd see these crazy arse cars racing, a Porsche turbo with 900hp racing against a mini that is as wide as it is long with a big crazy engine in it!

"It's what I loved, I loved the power and drivers just totally out of control the whole time."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble
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