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Button pondering WEC?

NEWS STORY
19/10/2014

His future with McLaren in doubt, Jenson Button is said to be considering a move to the World Endurance Championship.

Until a few weeks back it appeared Button and teammate Kevin Magnussen were a shoo-in to retain their seats for 2015 with the Woking outfit... then came Sebastian Vettel's shock revelation that he was to leave Red Bull.

Suddenly all bets were off, the driver market was in turmoil and Button, the sport's elder statesman, looks likely to be the most significant casualty.

The Briton, who has done a sterling job this season with the MP4-29 is understood to be considering following Mark Webber to WEC having made it clear that he either remains in F1 with a "top team" or not at all. Consequently, as the Woking team considers its options, which most notably include Fernando Alonso, Button is said to be considering pre-empting the chop by announcing his switch.

"McLaren aren't sure what they're doing and what their line-up will be. That's pretty obvious," Button's manager, Richard Goddard, told BBC Sport. "Anyone who has a race seat available would like to have Jenson in it. Jenson is still focused on F1 but would only want to be in one of the top teams. So we're always open to talking to anyone."

"It is a very credible race series to compete in," said Goddard of WEC. "Jenson is an incredibly competitive racing driver who wants to race. He's too good to sit at the back of the F1 grid. So he either gets a competitive car in F1 or he goes to get one elsewhere."

Speaking earlier this week, team boss Eric Boullier was giving little away only to say than to admit that there is no room for sentimentality and that the team will do what it feels rights in terms of its own interests.

"We need a mix of experience and eagerness," the Frenchman told the sport's official website. "In this time of recovery for McLaren I need a boost, so our driver line-up needs to be boosting the team's morale and team's determination to reach as quickly as possible the level where we should be.

"We are working on the strategy for the coming years... plural, " he continued, "which means we could take on a big name now, or even two big names for next year, or we could stay the same and go for a big name - or again two big names - for 2016.

"We are still assessing what we should do, as it is a big decision that will obviously be driving our success for the medium term. If we take the wrong decision we could be successful in the short term but maybe not in the long term. And we are in the comfortable position of being able to wait. I know that doesn't make it comfortable for Jenson and Kevin, but I have to think about McLaren first. We have to make sure we make the right decision."

Asked if he can imagine a driver as experienced as Button suddenly finding himself without a drive, his reply was blunt: "That is a question for Jenson's management," he says. "My job is to make McLaren win."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by NotRocketSurgery, 21/10/2014 19:27

"Agreed. Politics and money. Maybe it's OK to add "greed".

I am a mortorsport nut. I love watching the modified stocks run at the local 1/4 mile dirt track as much as I love F-1 and the WEC and the ALMS. Now that Weber has made the move, I would make a small wager that Jenson has already considered doing the exact same thing. That just might be the thing that brings the home/TV audience to those series. Oh, how I long for access to more racing that I have never been able to see before. Jensen ... listen my bud, the WEC is calling you. Go for it ... !

A tangental rant ... How do cause SKY Sports to be available in the US? Talk about an opportunity ... !!!
"

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 21/10/2014 15:57

"I'm hoping he'll stay at McLaren, but should he have to move on, so be it. As Jenson can attest F1 isn't simply about skill and application, nor even "luck". Politics & Money are paramount, and it's looking like he's on the wrong end at present."

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3. Posted by Rappy, 21/10/2014 6:17

"Why Mclaren-Honda would pick Magnussen over Button is beyond me. Button is clearly the more consistent point scorer of the two on race day. These definitions of a driver being either good on Qualiday or Race day or both rarely changes over the course of a drivers career (Look at Massa or Rosberg). Magnussen is clearly a good qualifier but not a race driver. Also for Honda sponsorship Button has a big fan base in Japan not least because of his girlfriend and generally personable character. They can say they want to have a young driver so that there is the potential to have consistency over four or five years but no driver ever stays put that long these days (except Vettel cos he knew he was onto too good a thing and wouldn't have as much luck elsewhere). Even if they choose Magnussen (a continuation of the poor choices Mclaren makes for 2nd driver slot like Kovalainnen) he probably won't be there in three years, let alone four or five."

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4. Posted by mich-one, 19/10/2014 16:29

"
McLaren: Alonso & Magnussen
And if not Magnussen, then possibly Hulkenberg (!).
Williams: Botas & Button
(and both Jensen and Williams will sing about his 'homecoming'...)
Massa to retire.
Somehow this makes more sense to me.
Then again, F1 often does not make sense to us mere mortals (fans)."

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5. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 19/10/2014 12:19

"History has proved that Honda are by no means a sure bet , as their recent F1 fiasco proved, also their recent CART ( or whatever that overpriced FF specs series now called....) hasn't been a screaming sucess.
Honda lost a lot of their experienced race engineers/designers around 2000, key word , experienced.

And with Mr Perfect back at the helm, the McLaren Titanic is full steam ahead.

A big risk for any driver, particularly Alonso."

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6. Posted by MrShadow, 19/10/2014 11:19

"The casualty will be Magnussen.
McLaren: Alonso and Bottas
Williams: Button and Massa."

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