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Jenson Button might not be considering retirement just yet, but admits that the thought does cross his mind from time to time. Having already publically announced that he would be content to leave Formula 1 with a single title, the Englishman won the crown in 2009 and is now competing in his 13th season.
Although Button’s current ‘multi-year’ deal with McLaren is unknown, it is generally known around the paddock that the Frome man last agreed a three-year contract which takes him through to the end of 2014.
“It’s on my mind,” he tells The Mail of retirement. “In any sport, the trick is to retire at the right time. So many drivers say they look forward to retiring from F1 and they can’t wait to live a more leisurely life. After four months away from it, they go stir crazy because they miss the constant buzz.”
Furthermore, Button believes that the moment fear start to become an influencing factor is the right time for a driver to call time on his F1 career.
“I’ve had a few crashes in my career,” he continues. “By far the worst was at Monaco in 2003. I exited the tunnel at 180 miles an hour, my car clipped a barrier, skidded down an escape road and crashed into a wall.
“When they dragged me from the car I’d been unconscious for a few minutes. It put the fear of God in me, to be honest. As a driver, once you’ve experienced something like that you never lose the fear that it might happen again. To drive an F1 car you have to be a little mad. On the morning of a race there’s a mix of excitement and fear.”
Button debuted with Williams in 2000 before moving to Benetton, which became Renault in 2002. His first pole position and podium both came in 2004, a season in which he was best of the rest behind the dominant Ferrari cars. A maiden victory came with the same team, then owned by Honda, in 2006 and preceded two disastrous years before the fairytale season with Brawn GP in 2009. Now 32, he has been with McLaren for two and a half years and has so far triumphed in six races with the squad.
Button's 2003 Monaco crash can be viewed below:
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