Following the retirement of Mark Webber at the end of the 2013 F1 season, Button is now one of the oldest drivers on the grid at the age of 33. However, he is still one of the most competitive drivers in the sport, and has no plans to follow Webber into endurance racing after the Australian driver joined Porsche’s revived LMP1 programme for 2014.
“Le Mans never really ticked the boxes for me,” the Briton is quoted as saying by Autosport. ”You are racing with cars that are so much slower, in different categories, and dodging cars throughout the whole race is not something that I have ever got that excited about.”
In the World Endurance Championship, classes range from prototypes to GT racers, meaning that there is a great disparity in the pace of the cars between classes. For Button, it is this factor that makes racing at Le Mans unappealing.
“Maybe I will when I drive one of them and drive at Le Mans, because I’d love to drive around the Le Mans circuit in a sportscar, but it’s just having different categories racing together that I am not keen on. But each to their own as obviously a lot of people do love it.”
A number of F1 drivers have sought refuge in endurance racing after leaving the sport. Nick Heidfeld, Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and Alexander Wurz are just some of the drivers to have taken part in the World Endurance Championship this season that once raced in F1. It has become something of an alternative for those without a full-time drive, and it is by no means an epilogue to racing in Formula One. Kobayashi is reportedly on the verge of a return to the sport with Caterham, proving the series’ reputation.
Although many would have wanted to see Button cut his teeth in endurance racing, it is unlikely that he will walk away from F1 in the future without a secure plan.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.