Button refuses to rule out new team

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The Independent Online

Jenson Button yesterday refused to rule out a move away from Brawn at the end of the season, even going so far as to describe speculation that he might be on his way as "exciting". Speaking at the stunning $250m (£150m) Yas Marina circuit ahead of Sunday's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the new world champion also said that he wanted "new challenges".

Brawn driver Button succeeded Lewis Hamilton after finishing fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix a fortnight ago, and thus created history as his triumph meant English drivers won back-to-back titles for the first time.

He said that, as he had not even logged on to the internet during a weekend of relaxation with friends in Dubai, he had been unaware of all the speculation about him joining Hamilton at McLaren in 2010. "It's always exciting to read stories like that," he said. "After the reports of the race in Brazil died down these interesting stories cropped up, but I'm not going to talk about who or what for 2010.

"But as for having Lewis as a team-mate... I have achieved what I wanted to in F1, and I want new challenges. And whoever I drive against will be exciting. I am not talking about Lewis specifically. I won't put a percentage chance on anything.

"I'm looking forward to racing with No 1 on the side of the car next year, and I said in Brazil I'd love for it to be on a Brawn. It's great that we will start talking seriously after this weekend. But I have also always said my aim is to be in a car next year that can win races and the title."

Button also pledged to do everything he can to safeguard the future of the British Grand Prix. He expressed his dismay at Donington's failure to generate the money necessary to service their 17-year deal, and his hope that Silverstone can restage the race.

"Lewis and myself will both do as much as we can to help the British Grand Prix," Button said. "This year's event was a sell-out, and it would be devastating if there was not a British race. I've never finished on the podium in my home event – even in my championship year! – but it's still a very special race. And a lot of British people and teams are involved in Formula One. Brawn and McLaren are British, and Red Bull are based there even if they are Austrian-owned. I simply cannot imagine not having a British Grand Prix."

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