MX23RW : Sunday, September 23 20:25:09

Mark Webber expects Jenson Button retirement talk in 2016

Before even a single lap in the 21-race grand prix calendar has been logged, Jenson Button's future in Formula 1 is already being discussed.

Before even a single lap in the 21-race grand prix calendar has been logged, Jenson Button's future in Formula 1 is already being discussed.

In part, that is because McLaren supremo Ron Dennis kicked off the week of the 2016 season opener by admitting openly that Stoffel Vandoorne could make his debut for the Honda-powered team next year.

On F1's official website, Dennis said that he will therefore get together for contract talks with Button, the most experienced driver on the grid, "during the course of the year".

Not only that, 36-year-old Button openly admitted late last year that he almost called time on his 16-season F1 career.

"There was a turn mentally with his decision to retire," Mark Webber, who retired at the end of 2013 and switched to Le Mans, told The Sun.

"The next phase is not sorted for him yet. He's certainly in the last part of his career and I hope the car's tidy and he has a half-decent weapon to fight with, but then there'll be a call around Monza for that letting go.

"He's a real pro and had a phenomenal career but there's nothing worse as an athlete than being asked when you're going to retire."

Button, who won the drivers' championship in 2009, entered F1 with Williams in 2000.

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Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams attends the drivers press conference during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on October 31, 2013
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