Button pondering WEC?


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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Published: 19/10/2014
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