Kimi Raikkonen could be left as the clear elder statesman of F1 should Jenson Button retire at the end of the season.
While the Finn has signed on for another year with Ferrari, the similarly 36-year-old Button says he is not yet decided whether to keep racing beyond 2016.
Asked if he was surprised Raikkonen elected to push on for 2017, Button told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat: “I don’t know his situation or the background so I wouldn’t have been surprised either way.”
Raikkonen, however, debuted a year later than Button and then spent a couple of seasons in world rallying, so is still more than 50 races off Button’s career race tally.
Button, on the other hand, is set to crack the ultra-rare 300 GP mark.
“300 is a long time,” he admitted. “Only Rubens (Barrichello) and Michael (Schumacher) have driven more.”
Asked if he is interested in targeting Barrichello’s record tally of 323, he answered: “If I want to. The question is whether I want to or not. At the moment I don’t know the answer.”
McLaren is known to be considering replacing Button with Stoffel Vandoorne, but Williams is reportedly interested in signing up the 36-year-old.
“The only reason I would want to be in F1 next year would be to go for race wins, whether that’s McLaren or somewhere else,” he said.
However, Button is set to take over from Mika Hakkinen as McLaren’s longest-serving F1 driver.
Asked if he is surprised by that statistic, Button said: “When I think about Mika and how early he retired, I understand why I’m about to go past him.”
© RIF | GMM