McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Jenson Button embarks on his final F1 race this weekend, before calling time on an illustrious seventeen-year career to take a sabbatical in 2017.
The Brit is eager to get the Abu Dhabi weekend underway, and will be joined by family and friends as he completes his time in what has been a huge part of his life for so long.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend, and have been for a few races now. It marks a very special chapter in my life and I’ll have my friends and some of my family out in Abu Dhabi with me which I’m very excited about.
“It’s going to be a hugely emotional weekend and I hope with the support of the fans, the team and the people who are closest to me, we can go out there and give it our absolute maximum and enjoy the weekend.”
Button as always is quick to point out that this is not the end of his time in F1, just a different and exciting new chapter for him to pursue, something the 37-year-old felt was necessary at this point in time, and a challenge he is looking extremely forward to.
“It’s not the end of my career with McLaren-Honda, but it’s the start of a new phase that I’m incredibly positive about.”
The 2009 world champion is extremely proud of all he has achieved throughout his career and with the McLaren-Honda project, which despite the difficult times they have had to endure, he has really enjoyed being a part of.
“This race marks the culmination of a huge amount of hard work, dedication and passion for the sport that I love and I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in the past 17 seasons, and the fantastic progress we’ve made over the past couple of years with McLaren-Honda.
“It’s been an amazing project to work on and my involvement certainly won’t end here.”
In terms of the grand prix on Sunday, the Brit is hopeful of a strong performance, as long as he and his team can get on top of Friday practice and qualifying on Saturday, to ensure they give themselves the best possible chance in Sunday’s race, unlike last time out in Brazil, which did not go quite according to plan.
“If we use the track time productively on Friday it’ll give us the best opportunity to set the car up for the weekend and, hopefully, avoid a repeat of Brazil where I really struggled for pace in the race.
“Our package definitely has more potential than that, and I hope that I can push it to the limit and give the team and the fans a good end to the year.”
It will be an emotional weekend for Button, but the Brit would like to sign off strongly, before embarking on a very different future to the one he has been used to for so many years.
“I’m looking forward to concluding this chapter in style and starting a new one with just as much enthusiasm, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”