Jenson Button has said he is “very happy” with his new role at McLaren for the next two years, adding that the deal is a “dream”.
Button announced to the press in the McLaren Brand Centre in Monza that he has signed a new two-year contract with McLaren covering 2017 and 2018 to perform an ambassadorial role for the team, as well as to be involved in team and car development and to be an effective reserve driver. Stoffel Vandoorne is to take his place in the race line-up. Button’s contract does however have an option for McLaren to bring him back into a race seat for 2018.
And he insisted that he is delighted with the deal, that it would allow him to rest and take part in other activities such as triathlon as well as to spend more time with his family.
“For a driver that’s been in the sport for so long, and has achieved what I’ve achieved – winning a world championship, winning many Grands Prix and podiums – it really his a dream to be able to have that rest and the possibility of racing in the future,” he said.
“So this is something I’m very very happy about, couldn’t be happier with the situation to be fair.
“This is something that really works for me, that I’m so so happy with, that we’ve come to this agreement.
“I’ll also [with the new role] be doing a lot of stuff that I haven’t done for 17 years. I’ll be living as I said on my schedule, I’ll get up when I want, I’ll do what I want for a lot of the days of the year. Spend more time with my friends and more importantly my family who I haven’t properly seen for 17 years. That’s something that I’m really excited about.
“I’m also an avid fan and lover of triathlons as you probably know, so there are many things I want to do that I haven’t been able to do because of the F1 schedule.”
Button added that the deal was at his initiation, following his activities during the recent summer break.
“During the summer break when I had a pretty awesome time with friends and family, living on my schedule which is something I haven’t done for 17 years – you know I’ve lived and breathed F1 since I was 19 years old, and I’m 36 now. You go to Grands Prix at the weekend, and everything else is either recovery or preparation for a Grand Prix.
“I came to a decision that I wanted to initiate talks with Ron [Dennis] in Spa, which we did.”
Button also described the option to race in 2018 as “pretty awesome”. He added also that he may take part in other motorsport series in 2017. “There’s a possibility of me racing [other series] next year,” he said.