In Depth

Jenson Button poised to quit Formula 1 for Top Gear role

The British world champion is expected to announce his retirement from the sport after a glittering 16-year career

Formula 1 driver Jenson Button is expected to announce his retirement from the sport this week and could end up with a part in the BBC's revamped Top Gear show.

The McLaren driver, who won the world championship in 2009, failed to finish the Singapore Grand Prix and has just six points to his name so far this season.

With only eight days until the option on his McLaren deal runs out, most observers expect the 35-year-old to walk away from the sport.

"One of the most popular drivers of his generation is preparing to hang up his racing helmet and overalls after a 16-year career that has touched the heights and plumbed extraordinary depths, none more so than a season that has tested even his resilience and patience," writes Kevin Eason of The Times.

McLaren's "long slide to obscurity" has blighted the past three seasons of Button's career, and they could be his last. "Singapore on Sunday was the last desperate staging post for a team hampered by hopelessly uncompetitive Honda engines," Eason writes.

Damon Hill believes Button is already "demob happy" reports The Guardian. Hill, a Sky Sports, pundit points out that Button has won the world championship and cannot be content scraping along at the back of the grid. He was happy to stick with McLaren this season in the hope that a tie-up with Honda would offer some prospect of an improvement.

It has not worked and "it would be extraordinary if McLaren pulled a rabbit out of the hat next year", says Hill. "They are looking at another season of consolidation and slight improvement."

It means that Button has "decided to bow out on his terms after another season in an uncompetitive car", claims Daniel Johnson of the Daily Telegraph and his "departure will leave Formula One a vastly poorer sport".

He has 15 victories, 50 podium finishes and 278 race starts, which make him the third most experienced driver of all time, adds Johnson.

The driver's decision to quit may leave McLaren and F1 bereft, but Button will have "no lack of offers because Button is a PR man's dream, popular with fans of all ages and nationalities," says Eason of The Times.

"He is known to have had negotiations with the formidable Porsche World Sportscars squad that won the Le Mans 24-hours this year and a victory at that blue riband event would be an historic addition to his 2009 F1 world championship," while there have been persistent rumours that he could team up with his friend Chris Evans as a host of the BBC's new-look Top Gear.

"He is open to the idea as long as he could find time to drive," claims Eason.

Recommended

F1 ‘silly season’ hits top speed as 2023 grid takes shape
Oscar Piastri denied he would be driving for Alpine in 2023
Behind the scenes

F1 ‘silly season’ hits top speed as 2023 grid takes shape

Hamilton on his F1 future: ‘I have plenty of fuel in the tank’
Lewis Hamilton on the podium at the F1 French Grand Prix 
Behind the scenes

Hamilton on his F1 future: ‘I have plenty of fuel in the tank’

A guide to the F1 2022 season
The F1 drivers pose on the grid at pre-season testing in Bahrain
In Focus

A guide to the F1 2022 season

Inside F1’s Paddock Club with Ferrari Trento
Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Pérez and race winner Carlos Sainz celebrate on the podium at Silverstone
Behind the scenes

Inside F1’s Paddock Club with Ferrari Trento

Popular articles

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 August 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 August 2022

The Week Footer Banner