Button ‘Expects’ Abu Dhabi To Be His Last
Jenson Button has announced he expects to be retiring from competitive Formula One this weekend. The 36-year old was due to take a break next season with him having an option for 2018 with McLaren.
Speaking to the press he said: “I go into this weekend thinking it’s going to be my last race. I think that’s the best way. At this moment in time, I don’t want to be racing in F1 beyond this year.”
Only two months ago Button was insisting that he wasn’t retiring from the sport but taking a break. But now he looks to have changed his tone saying he doesn’t want to return after this year to a race seat in F1. Button has been in the sport for sixteen years.
During his career he has race for Williams, Benetton, Renault, BAR, Honda, Brawn and McLaren. But asked by Sky Sports whether if McLaren exercised their 2018 option on him he would come back, he replied: “Not necessarily.”
Button told BBC News that it had been a long journey since he was eight years old until now. “You get to Formula 1 with many dreams and hopefully you leave the sport with memories – some amazing memories, some life-changing, some good, some bad. To walk away with the world championship is very special, too.
Read more and analysis from Jason Flurer here
Hamilton proud of Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton says he is proud of the way his team-mate Nico Rosberg has driven this season as the two pre-pair for what could be the defining race of their F1 Careers.
Rosberg and Hamilton are to fight it out once again for the title, but this time the odds are in Rosberg’s favor as he only needs to drive in the points. While Hamilton needs a win and luck to beat him. Their friendship has been under pressure in recent years something Hamilton admits.
He said “It’s been an interesting one. We had a very good relationship when we started out as kids. Back then obviously a race weekend was generally for kids karting, so you are out having fun, you go out and drive and come in and you fool around.” Hamilton admits that Rosberg has shifted his sense and is now focused on himself, but says they both raised there game.
He said “I’m really happy for him and his family, proud of stepping away from being our competitive selves, proud of him, of how he’s driven particularly this year and generally it’s been a pleasure to have him as a teammate. I’m sure that will continue.”
Hamilton believes he fully deserves the title this year after a series of mechanical issues earlier in the season put him on the back foot. But says he believes his team has worked the hardest, saying they have grown a lot closer this season, our work ethic is closer than it ever has been this season.
No dirty play
Nico Rosberg says there is no way he will play dirty this weekend as he looks to secure his first championship this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Rosberg leads by twelve points and only requires a podium to seal the title, should Hamilton win.
Rosberg has been ahead of Hamilton all season and knows he is in control of his destiny. During a joint press conference with Hamilton, the german denied the suggestion that he needs to play dirty saying that he has a completely unchanged mindset from other race weekends.
Rosberg said “It’s going to be a weekend like any other where I’m going to for the race win within the limits of what’s acceptable of course.” When asked whether a element of fortune was on his side he said it would “be premature to get into any such discussion, such thoughts. I don’t have them.”
Ferrari can’t be proud – Vettel
Ferrari Sebastian Vettel says that the team “can’t be proud” of their winless season. The German last year was the only other driver than the Mercedes to take victory at three races finishing second in the constructors championship.
Despite their hopes of building on their successes last season the team has dropped behind the Red Bull’s who have taken two wins, one for each of their drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Vettel has also struggled with his own performance this year, regularly under-performing to his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Speaking to Autosoport Vettel said “We are working very hard, we are very committed. Of course, we wanted something else this year, for many reasons it didn’t happen.”
“Overall the car has been a good step from last year. Our performance was actually better than the results showed at times, but circumstances weren’t always the best.” Vettel added despite this the team still can’t be proud because they wanted to be fighting for the title.
He added that next year with the regulation changes it creates an enormous challenge for the team to get ready. The cars next season are having a major aerodynamic and tyre overhaul, Vettel underlined that Ferrari knows its ’16 shortfalls.
That includes qualifying performances, with Vettel having qualified on the front row three times last year including taking a pole position, but not at all this campaign.
“Next year the rules are very different and if you look at what’s missing this year, we’re lacking a little bit of downforce compared to our main competitors,” he said.
Force India can be in top three – Perez
Sergio Perez says he thinks that Force India can break into the top three in the constructor’s championship next season. The team look set to seal fourth this season, unless Williams take a strong result this weekend.
If Force India take that fourth place, it would mean they would of beaten a much more resourced team. With the regulation changes next season, Perez says he sees the changes in 2017 as a big chance. He told Autosport “To move forward with the rule changes is our biggest opportunity, to try to get into the top three at the end of the year.”
“Every year, we have been moving so I see good potential, good people.” Perez says the team has quite a good budget for next season saying the team can be in the top three.
Limited resources means Force India cannot explore other development angles as the big teams, but says should they get the concept right and upgrades right they can compete – particularly if it can start the season more strongly than it did in 2016.
He added “We have shown this year we did, but there was still potential from the beginning. That’s important, to have the potential there in the car and to make sure through the year you exploit the best out of the car.”
Williams need to score more points than it has managed in any single race this year to have any chance of overhauling Force India.
Inconsistency costed Gutierrez – Grosjean
Romain Grosjean believes his Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez lost his seat because of inconsistence with his race pace. In Brazil the American team announced that Gutierrez would be replace by Renault’s Kevin Magnussen next season.
It has been a difficult season for the Mexican who’s failed to score points on his return to the sport. When Grosjean assess his team-mates season he told Autosport “Esteban is very fast in qualifying. There’s no doubt about that. He’s got a good pace over one lap, clearly. Much faster than a lot of people think. In the races, he’s been struggling a bit this year. He didn’t do any races last year.”
“But for the team you need the two cars to score points, not in an equal manner as one day someone might have a bit of a lucky good result and the other one a little bit less.” Grosjean added two point scoring points is key for the team.
Gutierrez says that poor reliability hit him disproportionately hard this season, particularly in the early rounds when Grosjean achieved three points finishes in four races. But Grosjean appeared to dismiss that saying “Over 21 races, there are always some races where you’ll be unlucky and some where you’ll get lucky. “It balances itself.”
He believes Magnussen’s battling race performances for Renault are what persuaded Haas to drop Gutierrez for him. “He’s shown that he’s a racer, in Singapore and in Russia holding a position with a car that did not have the pace to be there,” Grosjean said.
Nasr hope points will help secure future
Felipe Nasr believes that the points that he scored at the Brazilian Grand Prix can help him secure his future with Sauber. The Brazilian points allowed Sauber to jump Manor in the constructors championship ahead of this weekends final race.
If Manor get more points this weekend they could retake tenth which would see the Swiss team pushed down to eleventh place. This has huge financial repercussions for either team. Nasr hopes if they retain tenth it will help him retain his title.
He told Motorsport.com “I would expect that it does help for sure. If anything a racing driver can do is contribute to a team with points. I know these points are valuable, what they mean in championship and resources the team will make for 2017 so it’s the best I could have given them.”
The Brazilian says his first points of the season was a big boost after a tough year. Adding “The points mean a lot for myself and the team and hopefully we will know [the future] it soon.”