Formula 1

McLaren could replace Jenson Button with Sebastian Vettel

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Jenson Button has admitted he maybe forced to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the year as McLaren's 2015 engine supplier Honda eye Sebastian Vettel.

It has been known for some time that the Japanese carmaker, who pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008, has been aiming to sign a 'superstar' driver to McLaren for its return next year, however, given the history between Honda and current McLaren driver Button, it was assumed the 2009 champion would be almost guaranteed a seat for the reunion of one of the most successful partnerships in history.

Change of heart?

If the latest speculation is to be believed, however, Honda think Button may not have the star power they are looking for as they aim to sign the likes of double world champion Fernando Alonso or four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.

Quite why Honda have had this perceived change of heart over Button, who raced for them in various guises between 2003-2008, is uncertain. However, his chances would not have been helped by the poor performances of the McLaren particularly in the last couple of years.

Also, it is understood the aim of McLaren and Honda, in their quest to sign a top name, is to have a driver line-up that could run for the next five years. This means, at 34, Button may not be the long-term option the two parties want.

More to give

That doesn't mean the man, who made his debut for Williams as a 20-year-old in 2000, is giving up on his future in F1.

Despite the loss of his father John Button, a man who was a key part of Jenson's racing career, just before the start of the season, the veteran of nearly 260 races believes he still has "more to give".

"We haven't sat down and talked about it," Button told the BBC when asked if he had spoken about his future with McLaren.

"If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it, but I feel I have so much more to give and I can't imagine life without motorsport and especially Formula One."

Related articles:

- Alonso wants huge Ferrari contract
- Are Vettel's best years behind him?
- Romain Grosjean should replace Button at McLaren

A major coup

For McLaren, its task of wanting to sign a top name driver is far from easy. Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso both have a couple of years left on their respective contracts and only last weekend at Spa, Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci insisted Alonso would be going nowhere next year.

And while Vettel may be having a difficult year at Red Bull after four of the most glorious any driver could have wished for, and while new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo appears to be more than a match for the four-time champion, there is still no indication the German is ready to move on yet.

Therefore signing one of their 'targets' would be considered a major coup for the McLaren - Honda partnership, but at the same time the more than likely failure to capture one of the two drivers would likely mean Button was retained for another year.

Hamilton interest?

Of course, mentioning McLaren and Honda's desire to sign a big name driver means you can't miss out the current goings on at Mercedes.

After the well-documented events in Belgium over the weekend, and indeed an article on the idea is already here on GiveMeSport, would a disgruntled Lewis Hamilton be another option for the Woking team to consider? I'll leave that question for you to answer!

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