SUZUKA (REUTERS) - Britain's 2009 world champion Jenson Button was giving nothing away on Thursday despite mounting speculation that he is gearing up to leave Formula One at the end of the season.
Appearing in a Japanese Grand Prix news conference with four other drivers, including Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, the 35-year-old McLaren driver was left until last by the moderator asking prepared questions.
With a palpable sense of expectation building in the room, the Briton smiled - and disappointed an audience hungry for news.
"What today? Or after this?" he grinned, stalling teasingly when asked what his plans were. "I can't give you anything else really since the last race, there's no more information to give you," he said. "You're going to have to wait for a little while I'm sorry to say.
"But we're in good talks, the team and myself, so that's it. We are here to concentrate on this weekend. It's a big weekend for us, McLaren-Honda, in front of Honda's home crowd at their circuit."
With social media lighting up to impart the news that he had no news to give, reporters tried to tease more information out of a man who has seen it all before as the most experienced driver in the paddock.
"How much is a little bit?" he was asked. And did the reference to talks indicate he could still be around next season? The attempt was doomed to failure.
"There are so many possibilities about what could happen next year," said Button. "So many possibilities. But I've got nothing else for you, I'm sorry to say."
Speculation about his future reached new heights after last Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix when he told British reporters he had made a decision.