Jenson Button is preparing to announce his decision to end his sixteen-year F1 career, according to multiple British reports on Monday.
With McLaren’s contract option on the British driver for 2016 set to expire at the end of September, and the parties rumoured to have been bickering over a scheduled pay increase, 35-year-old Button is said to have decided to take the decision into his own hands.
He has resolved to “bow out on his terms after another season in an uncompetitive car”, said Daniel Johnson, correspondent for the Telegraph.
The reports said Button, the 2009 world champion who also drove for Williams, Benetton and Honda, has selected this weekend’s Japanese grand prix as the scene of his announcement due to his affinity for the country.
Writing in the Times, Kevin Eason said McLaren supremo Ron Dennis wanted Button to stay beyond 2016 but has “accepted his driver’s decision”.
Button will almost certainly be replaced by either McLaren reserve Kevin Magnussen, or fellow team junior Stoffel Vandoorne, who is dominating the GP2 championship.
15-time grand prix winner Button has been linked with a move to Le Mans endurance racing as well as television broadcasting, such as F1 commentary or presenting on the BBC programme Top Gear.