First Massa Retires, now Button Announces he Won’t Race in 2017 either

Jenson Button has announced that he will be taking a break from the sport in 2017, with an option to return in 2018. The Brit is moving aside to allow the promising Stoffel Vandoorne a chance in next year’s McLaren.

With regards to the break, Button said,

“I definitely need a break. In 2018 the team have an option for me to drive.”

– Jenson Button

The announcement quells the speculation linking Button with Massa’s race seat. It’s now unclear as to who will be partnering Valtteri Bottas at Williams next season. Ron Dennis has said that he will call upon Jenson to have an active role in McLaren’s driver development program next year, but it’s a shame the Brit won’t be racing.

Button added,

“I’m delighted that I’ll be staying on as a key member of the McLaren-Honda team. In fact I’m massively excited about my new role, which has come about as a result of a number of in-depth chats with Ron.

Specifically, I’m looking forward to becoming even more deeply involved in the team’s efforts to bring about the success we’ve all been striving to deliver.

I love McLaren-Honda – I firmly believe it’s made up of the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with – and I have no intention of ever driving for another Formula 1 team.

To be clear, I’m very definitely not retiring. I’m contracted for both 2017 and 2018, I intend to work hard on car-development, and I’m sure I’ll get behind the wheel of the new car at some point.”

– Jenson Button

The 2009 World Champion will be a loss to the grid next year, but the exciting Vandoorne will finally get his break after waiting in the wings for a while. Alonso’s contract is up at the end of next season too. The Spaniard has made it quite clear that if he doesn’t enjoy driving the new regulation 2017 cars, he’ll be leaving the team too.