Jenson Button will retire from Formula 1 after this weekend’s 2016 season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Announcing his decision in the build-up to this weekend’s race, 36-year-old Button said: "I go into this weekend thinking it's going to be my last race. I think that's the best way.”
Button, who will be replaced next season by 24-year-old Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, still has the option to return in 2018 under his two-year contract with McLaren, but he suggested he won’t be taking the option.
"At this moment in time, I don't want to be racing in F1 beyond this year. 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.”
"The whole point of this [option to return in 2018] was if in three months' time I had eaten myself stupid and I changed my mind. But I don't want to go into this race thinking it's not my last race and it is."
After this weekend, Button will have 305 F1 starts to his name. This will make him the third most experienced F1 driver in history, behind Michael Schumacher (307) and his former teammate, Rubens Barrichello (323). Button has scored 50 podiums, 15 wins and one world title in his 17 years in the world’s premiere racing championship.
Button hasn’t yet confirmed whether he will return to racing in another series, but has previously spoken of his interest in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). His friend and former fellow F1 driver, Mark Webber, has just announced his retirement from the WEC.