Jenson Button could face an ignominious end to his F1 career if he fails to find a drive next season, David Coulthard has warned his compatriot. The Englishman, whose Honda backers pulled out of the sport in December, faces 2009 on the sidelines if the team fails to find a buyer before the season begins in March. This could have drastic consequences for Button, Coulthard told Reuters at the launch of his ex-team Red Bull’s new RB5 in Jerez.
‘The way the sport is now, there are so many young drivers coming through and there are so many opportunities for teams to pick up these guys,” said the Scot.
‘Whereas going into previous years with Honda he was all full of hope and expectation that this could be the year that Honda will step up, he has to take a different view now,” Coulthard added.
“He has to now consider himself as driving for a mid-grid, privateer team.
“Whether they can deliver to his expectations or not is more difficult to judge going into this season and presumably longer term he has to be looking to try to make a step up to a manufacturer team.”
Button remained faithful to Honda’s Brackley-based team despite rumours that a Toro Rosso seat might have been available to the Frome-born driver. Button is aged 29, by no means over the hill for an F1 driver, but time to build foundations with a new team would be required if he were to move. The Honda car for 2009 will have also had its development retarded by the team’s problems, Coulthard said.
“You would like to imagine that it [the car] would be better than what they were given last year but I think the team at the back of the grid potentially could be Honda.”