Jenson Button confirms his F1 future does not go beyond Abu Dhabi

He will draw the curtain on almost two decades in Formula 1

McLaren, Jenson Button

McLaren Honda's Jenson Button during the preview day at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi. Picture by David Davies PA Wire/PA Images

Jenson Button has confirmed that 2017 will very much mark the start of his retirement as a Formula 1 driver rather than a sabbatical of sorts.

In September, the McLaren F1 team announced that the 2009 World Champion would still be available to compete in Grands Prix if required after signing a two-year ambassadorial role with the team.

The new deal meant McLaren still held an option for the 36-year-old in the 2018 season.

But speaking ahead of the final race of the 2016 season in Abu Dhabi, Button was quite clear about his future.

"I go into this weekend thinking it is going to be my last race. I think that's the best way to be. At this moment in time, I don't want to be racing in F1 past this race," he said.

"It is true that I have a contract in 2018 but, at this moment in time, I am not going to be racing in 2018."

On the terms of the contract, he also went to say that, "The whole idea about having a contract was that in three months' time, when I've eaten myself stupid and am thinking of things to do in the future and maybe feel I need Formula One back in my life, but at this moment in time that isn't the case."

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are the two lead drivers for McLaren in next season's 2017 championship.

Button made his Formula 1 debut in 2000 with the Williams team.

He won the driver's championship with Brawn GP in 2009, before leaving for McLaren in 2010.

This season sees him entering the final race of the season ranked 15th in the driver's standings as he calls time on an F1 career that yielded 15 race wins, 50 podiums and eight pole positions. 

You can read a full race preview of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix right here.