Button considering other options in F1 - and elsewhere
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AP) Veteran driver Jenson Button is still considering his options for next season and is open to a move away from Formula One if the right challenge comes along.
The 2009 F1 champion is in the final year of his contract with McLaren and a decision is expected by the end of September.
McLaren also must decide whether to stick with Button alongside Fernando Alonso for next year, or replace Button with Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
''I do have a few options in Formula One, which is great for me to still feel wanted,'' the 36-year-old Button said at the Belgian Grand Prix. ''But whether I am here or not, we will see in the next few weeks. My aim has always been to be able to win races in F1, and if this is not possible for me I will go and do something else.''
Button, who has won 15 GP races, is not saying what the other options are. Former F1 driver Mark Webber, for example, has made a successful transition to the World Endurance Championship.
But Button hinted his future may even be outside of racing.
''I will do something where I can compete,'' he said. ''Whether it is racing or something else we will see. Probably I will surprise myself with my decision.''
Button certainly surprised himself with his performance in qualifying for Sunday's Belgian GP, placing ninth in hot and difficult conditions in Spa on Saturday.
''The Q2 lap was as good as my pole (position) lap here in 2012,'' Button said. ''We definitely did not expect to qualify P9. The last race we were 12th on a circuit that suits us a bit better.''
The 24-year-old Vandoorne, who won the GP2 series last year, is currently a reserve driver for McLaren but is very highly rated.
Mercedes head of Motorsport Toto Wolff was recently quoted by Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws as saying McLaren would be ''crazy'' not to take him next year.
''I like the boy, he deserves a seat in Formula One. He's dominated GP2 in a way that's very special,'' Wolff told reporters after Saturday's qualifying. ''If guys like Stoffel don't come into Formula One, the system's wrong.''