Jenson Button may be forced to walk away from Formula One after McLaren’s farcical failure to confirm their 2015 driver line-up continued last night (Thursday) following an inconclusive board meeting.
All eyes had been on McLaren’s board to end the uncertainty around Button’s future, but no white smoke emerged from the team’s Woking -factory. “No decision has been taken with regard to our 2015 driver line-up,” a team spokesman said last night.
Button has been waiting to hear from McLaren for months in one of the longest-running driver-transfer sagas for years, with Fernando Alonso joining from Ferrari.
While Button does not need to give a firm answer imminently to sports-car teams in the Le Mans-style World Endurance Championship, insiders indicated that there would come a stage soon when the 34-year-old needed to declare his next move.
Button continued to smile through the relentless questioning yesterday. But the latest announcement of no news must have been particularly galling given that he was at a promotional event for Johnnie Walker, a McLaren sponsor, in Edinburgh, wearing team overalls.
Button was joined by his young team-mate, Kevin Magnussen. Any confirmation of McLaren’s 2015 drivers is now not expected until the start of next week at the earliest.
The Daily Telegraph understands that both Ron Dennis, the McLaren chairman, and Eric Boullier, the team’s racing director, favour the Danish driver, because of his youth, his salary of just £500,000 compared to £13 million for Button, and because it would enable them to put all their eggs in the Alonso basket.
“It’s a weird time,” Button said yesterday. “I’m now really comfortable, and whatever happens I will have a great year next year.”