Button feels retirement decision was made too soon

Jenson Button - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Jenson Button believed his decision to retire from Formula 1 was made too early in the season, although he stands by his decision to walk away from his McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team race seat for next season.

The 2009 World Champion admits that his August decision had a negative effect on his mindset for the rest of the season, even though he did not think it would at the time, and he believes that the decision should have been left until later in the year in order to continue his focus on 2016.

“I still feel August is quite early, personally,” admitted Button in Abu Dhabi on Motorsport.com. “I think when a driver decides he is going to leave or retire from that sport, I think you should try and do it as late as possible.

“I think I did it way too early. I think the mindset definitely changes which is a shame, I didn’t think it would but it definitely does.

“Tomorrow for me is a big day but I don’t go into the last race saying ‘I can’t wait til it’s over’, I go into the last race excited, knowing that I’m going to have a great race and I will give it my all as I do every Grand Prix.”

Despite feeling the timing was wrong, Button still believes the decision to walk away from the race seat in 2017 was the correct decision to make, and although he will step into his MP4-31 for the final time on Sunday, he is happy with his choices.

“I’m very happy with my decision,” added Button. “Who knows what’s going to happen next year, but that’s not the reason for leaving the sport.

“It’s just the right time. The thought process that I had in August, long months to really think about the past, present and future. It’s definitely the right thing for me to be doing.”

Button hopes the team can show good pace in 2017, with Stoffel Vandoorne coming in to replace the Briton alongside Fernando Alonso, and he is already looking forward to the opportunities he will have next year to attend races.

“I’m hoping the team are competitive next year, I’ll still be part of the team and looking forward to the few races I’ll be at next year,” said Button.