Button reluctant to sign long McLaren deal

Sep.10 (GMM) Jenson Button has welcomed news he will be at McLaren next year but baulked at suggestions he will sign a contract for life.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said at Monza on Friday that the 2009 world champion, who can be automatically retained due to a one-year contract option, will definitely still be Lewis Hamilton’s teammate in 2012.

But the Briton also said he wants Button, 31, to commit for “the rest of his career” and thereafter be a brand ambassador.

The fact there is still some uncertainty about Button’s position at McLaren is believed to be due to the British driver wanting to keep his options open for 2013.

“I would love to stay here, yes,” Button said after Whitmarsh’s comments were reported. “I’m not trying to position myself with other drivers coming out of contract.

“The simplest thing would be to sort out next year, then we can sort out the rest later this year,” he added.

Button insists he feels little need to tie himself down with a long contract, despite suggestions in the British press that he is being offered a multi-year deal worth $120 million in total.

“I don’t feel I need to secure my position for the long term. I’m not at the start of my career so I don’t feel I need that,” he said.

“It’s nice to be in a position where, if you don’t feel right and don’t want to go racing any more, you can stop.”

He scolded the suggestion he is eyeing the Red Bull seat currently occupied by Mark Webber, or Felipe Massa’s cockpit at Ferrari.

“Would I retire happy without driving for Ferrari? Yes,” insisted Button.

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