SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
Button retirement rumours growing despite delay
Even though Jenson Button delayed his expected announcement on Thursday, rumours the McLaren driver is ending his long F1 career are only growing.
That speculation has been further fired up by Chris Evans, the new host of the British motoring programme Top Gear.
It is rumoured that, if Button ends his 16-year grand prix career, he will join Evans as a presenter, potentially dividing his time in 2016 between broadcasting and racing at Le Mans or the world rallycross series.
Evans told Radio 2: "We are getting news from the F1 fraternity in Japan. There is a rumour of a press conference about to be held to do with Top Gear at Suzuka.
"But he (Button) hasn't signed on the dotted line or, as far I'm aware told his current bosses. Anyway, we'll see how that unfolds," he added.
The rumour is that Button had planned to announce his retirement on Thursday and had even briefed some British journalists to that effect.
But subsequent talks with McLaren and Honda officials may have convinced the 35-year-old to hold fire for now.
"It's just respectfully between the team and myself," Button revealed. "That's what you do when you're in business with people.
"So, mutual respect and whatever decision we make will be good for everyone. It will be the right decision."
The BBC, who broadcast Top Gear, denied there are any announcements scheduled to take place in Japan this weekend.
But Button hinted that, notwithstanding the new delay, he knows what he is going to be doing in 2016.
"Even if you know in your mind what you want to do, you still want to talk with the team and discuss the future. It's going to happen.
"It doesn't mean that it changes my mind in any way, but it's important for us to be as one when we decide what's happening."
Button said he has been overwhelmed by the support of the fans, who have been bombarding his social media accounts with messages of support amid the retirement rumours.
"I think 90pc of them are saying I shouldn't retire from the sport, and when they read that it's a possibility it surprises some of them.
"I wish I could tell them a little bit more," he added.