YAS MARINA, Abu Dhabi -- Jenson Button hinted that his thoughts have turned to retirement instead of a one-year sabbatical after admitting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix feels like his final F1 race.
Button is stepping away from F1 at the end of the year to take on an ambassadorial role for McLaren, with Stoffel Vandoorne taking his race seat. The 2009 world champion has been in the sport for 17 consecutive years and revealed that in recent weeks his mindset has shifted away from wanting to return. .
"I go into this weekend thinking it's going to be my last race," Button said in the FIA press conference. "I think that's the best way. It is going to be my last race. At this moment in time, I don't want to be racing in F1 beyond this year."
Button's opinion about his new deal has changed since it was announced at the Italian Grand Prix, where Ron Dennis stressed that the English driver had an option to return to McLaren in 2018 if both parties agreed. He feels that he can leave the sport without any regrets.
"I think of this as my last race and hopefully everyone else does as well. It's been a long journey since eight years old until now I've been racing in motor sport."
"Everything before Formula One was work to try to get to Formula One. You get to Formula One with many dreams, you aspire to be something, and hopefully you leave the sport with memories. And that's something I definitely do have from my 17 years racing in Formula One. Lots of amazing memories, lots of life-changing memories, some good, some bad. And also to walk away with the world championship is very special too.
"Over 300 grands prix. I will definitely step away from Formula One happy with what I've achieved and knowing that my life really does start now."