If there’s one driver that has been missed in Formula One, it’s certainly 2009 world champion Jenson Button. Button isn’t done with racing yet, but won’t be making a full-time return to F1. Now he’s named two other series he won’t be trying in F1's place: Formula E and IndyCar, which “scares the shit” out of him.
Button is currently trying to pin down plans for next year in a new series, as racing again in the F1 Monaco Grand Prix for McLaren convinced Button that he made the right decision to leave the sport, ESPN reports. Button also recently wrote that the death of his father in 2014 took a lot of the joy out of F1 in his autobiography, Life to the Limit. As quoted by Sky Sports:
My love of racing remained but my love of Formula 1 was lacking. I found myself treading water, looking for meaning and purpose but failing to find it. Life without him was if laughter had been banned, or music had ceased to exist. All color had drained away.
Having recently experienced the death of my own father, I have to say that that can take the joy out of pretty much everything. Jenson still wants to race something, though, so it’s time to look elsewhere. However, Button told ESPN that he won’t be trying out IndyCar like his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso did this year:
No interest really. I mean IndyCar, there’s some great drivers racing there but it scares the shit out of me. I’m amazed that they still race. Very brave guys but I wouldn’t touch that. I don’t feel that’s necessary at this point of my career.
To him, the risk in IndyCar simply isn’t worth it. Two of Button’s friends from karting—Dan Wheldon and Justin Wilson—have died in IndyCar in the past six years, ESPN notes.
What about Formula E, then, which at times has felt like the retirement home for former F1 drivers? Well, he’s not interested in that, either, as there isn’t enough horsepower or noise for his liking. Button told ESPN:
Formula E, I think it definitely has its place, it’s great for manufacturers, the technology that is being used — it’s definitely going to keep going. It’s amazing how fast it’s grown and the people getting involved, the teams, the manufacturers, the drivers, but again, it’s not something that excites me.
I want to go racing and have fun, I want to hear the engine, I want to hear it roar and I want to drive something that’s got 600 horsepower plus. [...]
That’s what I love, the power and drivers just totally out of control the whole time. I feel that Formula E is very different to that but it definitely has its place and I can see why it attracts a lot of drivers. Obviously it’s a category that you can earn well in too and that’s always going to attract racing drivers.
Clearly, Button doesn’t need that sweet, sweet Formula E cash.
One place Button might end up in instead is the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship’s top Prototype class. He told ESPN:
I love the fact that they all get the same, well, there’s a selection of tubs that they can race with and they can make it their own with their aerodynamic package and power unit, and there’s a few manufacturers racing there and that’s great. It’s definitely a growing motorsport in America.
The GT category is great but I’m not sure I could be in a car being overtaken by the P2 cars [which race in Prototype]. That’s something I can’t get my head around. I’d love to do Le Mans at some point but I’m not sure it’s the right time to jump in and do it.
It’s a place that would certainly make sense given that Button has been living with girlfriend Brittny Ward in California.
Furthermore, the United Autosports WTSC Prototype team is co-owned by none other than McLaren executive director Zak Brown. Brown told Sportscar365 that Button is certainly in the running for a seat in that car:
We’ve spoken to Jenson and have spoken to a bunch of others. Jenson is close to the family, so to speak.
If he wants to do it, we’d love to have him in our car. But he’s yet to decide what he wants to race next year.
However, Sportscar365 also notes that Button may also decide to go into Super GT full-time, where he made his series debut in August. Wherever he ends up, though, Button’s aim is clear: find a series where racing is fun again.