Jenson Button has revealed how close he came to making a switch to Ferrari in 2013, which progressed as far as contracts being drafted up.
Button had joined McLaren in 2010 on a two-year deal, and had enjoyed some level of success with the squad.
However, there was growing speculation that the 2009 world champion was pushing for a move to Ferrari for the 2013 season.
Nothing eventuated and Button remained with McLaren for another year. Though he was then talked about as a likely candidate to replace Felipe Massa for 2014.
All had been nothing more than a rumour, until now when Button revealed in an interview with Motorsport News that the possibility of a Ferrari drive had moved as far as contracts being drawn up.
“Every driver would love to race for Ferrari at some point,” Button said.
“There’s just something about that team, even this year  it’s tough for them and tough for motorsport fans to see them where they are, but maybe they needed this to come back stronger.
“But I would love to have raced for Ferrari, and there was a good possibility sort of eight years ago, but it just didn’t materialise at the end.
“Pretty much contracts were ready to go and it almost happened, but for many different reasons it did and, to be fair, I was probably better off where I was any way at McLaren.”
Button went on to race with McLaren for seven seasons, making 136 Grand Prix starts. He had also agreed to a long-term deal with the team for beyond 2013, which ties in with the time he opted to pull out of his talks with Ferrari.
However, after 2012, McLaren begun its winless streak, which extends as far as today.
Perhaps a glorious move it would have been for Button with Ferrari returning to their winning ways in 2015. Its new driver Sebastian Vettel then took the fight for the title to Mercedes in both 2017 and 2018.
A move to Ferrari would have also triggered some interesting action on the driver market, with McLaren faced with having to also replace Lewis Hamilton for the 2013 season.
Button isn’t the only big-name driver to have been in discussion with Ferrari during the early 2010s.
Robert Kubica said in 2018 that he had inked a deal with Ferrari for 2012 before his crash in the 2011 Ronde di Andora rally that kept him out of F1 for eight seasons.
Moreover, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber were linked to a move to the Scuderia for 2013, but both opted to stay with their respective teams.