Melbourne: Jenson Button has banished thoughts of retirement to the back of his mind and said he hopes to see out his Formula One career with McLaren.
"I`ve a few years that I still want to race in Formula One," the 2009 world champion said at the Australian Grand Prix where he was surprisingly quickest in free practice on Friday after a troublesome pre-season.
"I`m sure it will come to a point with me where I`ll think `Right, I don`t want to do any more, I want to do something else.` That point isn`t yet, and I can`t even imagine it happening yet. "I`ll be here for a couple more years," added the 31-year-old Briton, who joined the Mercedes-powered team on a multi-year deal at the end of 2009 after winning the world championship with Brawn GP.
"I can`t imagine going somewhere else in Formula One after McLaren. I`m really happy here.”
"When I was younger, at the start of my years in Formula One, I never thought I`d drive for McLaren."
Button, who has won in Australia for the past two years in a row, said he particularly enjoyed the team spirit at McLaren even in tough times.
"When something goes wrong there is no finger-pointing. You talk about it," he said.
"For instance, (technical director) Paddy (Lowe) will come up to me, and say `I`m so sorry, this isn`t what we want, and what we want you to see either. We`re going to get back on track.`”
"They really tell you what is happening. They don`t keep you in the dark. They really involve you in everything they do. For me that is great," said Button.
"I love being involved in what is happening within a team. It`s important to me that I`m not just doing the driving."
Button`s team mate, 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, also reassured McLaren on his arrival at Albert Park on Thursday that he was committed to them and paid no attention to media speculation linking him with rivals.
Some British papers had suggested that, with McLaren struggling in testing with a car that Hamilton himself had said was no winner, the driver could be tempted to move.
"I`ve spoken to (principal) Martin (Whitmarsh)...I wanted to reassure him that I am here at McLaren, that I am committed to the team, committed to winning," said Hamilton.
"This is where my heart and mind are. I`m not thinking about going elsewhere, I don`t have my people going elsewhere and doing any other talking.”
"I try and put myself in other people`s positions, to understand how they would feel. I think that`s important," added the 26-year-old.
"I can imagine how I would feel if I heard stories that they were looking for another driver to replace me, it would be upsetting and distracting, and I kind of assume that may have been the case for them."
"So I wanted to make sure that I put that right."
You`re making it sound like I almost died and there was 10 sharks and I got attacked and I survived. And, you know, I saved a dolphin, as well.