Jenson Button has confirmed that he is a free agent for next season right now, as Brawn GP does not have him signed up beyond the end of this season.
But he also indicated that he expects to be driving for his current team in 2010.
Button was speaking at the Thursday press conference in Valencia, alongside British colleague Lewis Hamilton as well as Fernando Alonso, rookie Jaime Algersuari and Ferrari stand-in driver Luca Badoer.
The drivers were asked about their plans for next year by a journalist from an Irish magazine: “Where will you guys be in 2010? I know it’s difficult to say anything about that at the moment but what can you tell us?”
Lewis Hamilton reiterated what is already known – that he is securely contracted to McLaren for the foreseeable future.
Fernando Alonso, widely believed to be on the express route to Ferrari, deftly fielded the question.
Button answered the question by saying: “The same for me, yeah, basically.” But to the follow-up question of whether he had a contract, he answered: “No.”
Button and Brawn are currently in line for a fairytale first world championship each – but only if they can overcome their current development problems and field a competitive car.
Elsewhere in the conference, both Hamilton and Button were focused on technical improvements to their cars and the extra race performance that they were hoping would follow.
Button said that he had not lost hope that he and Brawn could be championship winners: “I think we understand the car much better than we did one or two races ago. It looks positive and we have got to hope when we get onto the circuit tomorrow that it feels positive and it is not just what we see in the data.
“We have made some steps forward since the last race and I think we have also looked at a few of the areas that we thought we had improved in over the last couple of races. We have looked at the possibility of going back on those changes.
“There has been a lot of work going on in the time that we have been able to over the break and we come here with a positive attitude. We have had a great season this year. If someone had said to me ‘you could win six of the 10 races’ I would have bitten their arm off. It is just they all happened at the start of the season.
“But we can be strong again. This car is not bad. I think that we have just maybe gone slightly in the wrong direction. But we will pick up our pace for sure. I really enjoy this circuit. I think it is a real buzz to get a good lap around here, so I am looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and seeing where we are.”
Hamilton added that McLaren had started the season two to three seconds off the pace and was pushing way beyond the actual power it had available.
He said: “Everyone was working way overtime and whilst we were making those changes to catch up, everyone was making a step forward, so perhaps you did not see the impact it had but in the car we felt it bit by bit get better.
“Clearly at the last two races we had made a much, much bigger step to be able to keep up with the other guys. That is really just due to the team never giving up and never thinking for a second I am going to leave that aside, I am going to leave it for another day.
“No-one lost the determination. Everyone just kept pushing and even I have been back to the factory and seen everyone’s determination and enthusiasm and it had an impact on me. It is just a family environment with us all pushing together and working to achieve our goals.”