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Button Q&A: F1 future clearer in weeks, not months

26 Aug 2016

When it comes to the F1 rumour mill, Jenson Button has seen it all - he is, after all, the third most experienced driver in Grand Prix history. But while such experience doesn't guarantee him a seat in 2017, the Briton does have options - and where his future has been decided very late in previous years, he is expecting a much faster resolution in 2016...

Q: Jenson, you look very relaxed after the summer break - what did you get up to?

Jenson Button: Making myself look well! (Laughs) I spent some time in California and some time in Monaco. I also went to the factory where things are going really well. Also when I was in the United States I watched a bit of the Olympics and it is amazing for such a small place like Great Britain to finish second in the medals table. I congratulate all the people that took part and especially the ones that brought home the medals.

Q: McLaren have brought quite a few updates for this weekend. Do you already have an overview of what impact it will have on your performance? And might it favour one driver over the other - you were quicker than Fernando Alonso today for example?

JB: Honda has prepared a new engine for both cars, so we will have more power - and from the deployment and recovery we will have a bit more as well. I am really happy with the way things are going at the moment! They are doing a great job, and on my side it showed today. Fernando was less fortunate. His engine has to be changed and that's why he will start form the back of the grid. But look back only 12 months: last year was a very difficult year for Honda, with a massive learning curve, and it is good to see that every new engine that we put in the car is a pretty good step forward, even if there are always some teething problems. Those are the nature of the game. The fact is that in every race we are able to push the engine harder and harder. We all want more power and to be as quick as the guys on the front rows - those who are doing the winning. There is still a long way to go for us, yes, but we are making good progress. And 2017 has the potential to shake it all up again. And who says that this will not be to McLaren's advantage?

Q: Has the summer break made anything clearer in regards to your future in Formula One? McLaren have said that they will wait until September, which is no longer very far away...

JB: I really had a good time in the summer break and I feel like I am in a really good place. It is not in one individual's hands - not in mine not in the team's. I think that we need to spend some time together and discuss what is best for all of us. I do have a few options in Formula One, which is great for me to still feel wanted. But whether I am here or not we will see in the next few weeks. My aim has always been to be able to win races in F1, and if this is not possible for me I will go and do something else where I can win races next year. But for sure I will do something where I can compete, as I am a very competitive person. Whether it is racing or something else we will see. Probably I will surprise myself with my decision! (Laughs) 

Q: Does being here, at a track like Spa, feed your hunger? What is it like to drive on?

JB: This track is a massive challenge. It is the circuit as a whole - rather than just one or two corners - that gives you the sensation. This circuit has a great flow, and I get a really nice feel around it. It is a track where you can race rather than just focusing on accelerate and brake, accelerate and brake. Even with the upgrades that we have we know that this weekend - and this circuit - will be very difficult for us. I would say that the outlook will be similar to the last couple of races and we should be able to fight within the top ten in the race, even though qualifying in the top ten will not be too realistic. So I give myself the advice: focus on the race and put on a good show!