WIL­LIAMS EYES BUT­TON FOR 2017

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Rob Lad­brook Pho­tos: LAT

Wil­liams F1 Team bosses have ad­mit­ted their in­ter­est in sign­ing Jen­son But­ton for the 2017 sea­son, which would seal the Bri­ton’s re­turn to the team with which he be­gan his ca­reer.

But­ton’s con­tract with MclarenHonda ex­pires at the end of this sea­son, and Mclaren is again weigh­ing up its op­tions of stick­ing with vet­eran But­ton or bring­ing in fresh tal­ent with Bel­gian Stof­fel Van­doorne wait­ing in the wings.

While Mclaren has an op­tion to re­tain But­ton for a fur­ther year, a re­turn to Wil­liams – where But­ton made his grand prix de­but in 2000 – is on the cards with team heads ad­mit­ting he would be a per­fect fit.

Both Wil­liams’ cur­rent driv­ers, Valt­teri Bot­tas and Felipe Massa, are out of con­tract at the end of this cam­paign, but Wil­liams does have an op­tion to re­tain Bot­tas and is ex­pected to fight to hang on to the highly rated Finn.

Team prin­ci­pal Claire Wil­liams said But­ton would be a good op­tion for next sea­son. Wil­liams said: “It would be lovely [to have But­ton back at Wil­liams]. The story is great.

“There are some great ta­lents out there and Jen­son is very at­trac­tive com­mer­cially as well. He is also an ex­tremely in­tel­li­gent driver from a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent an­gles so of course he is go­ing to be up there.

“We are still eval­u­at­ing our op­tions. You want to make sure that you eval­u­ate every area that you put weight on when you are choos­ing a driver, not just what they do on a Sun­day af­ter­noon but it’s ev­ery­thing they bring to a team.”

Wil­liams tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Pat Sy­monds added: “Jen­son would fit into the team well and we would serve him well. But I have no idea what Jen­son’s salary is.”

Mclaren has said that it won’t be­gin think­ing about its 2017 driver line-up un­til at least Septem­ber, leav­ing But­ton lit­tle time to ne­go­ti­ate a seat else­where should he be shown the exit from Wok­ing.

Wil­liams added that the team had al­ready drawn up a shortlist of driv­ers for next year. “It’s now just a case of choos­ing driv­ers,” she added. “We wouldn’t want to leave it too late, from a sta­bil­ity point of view.

“The top teams have all made their se­lec­tions, so we now are the team ev­ery­one is look­ing at if you are a driver with­out a con­tract for next year. We have op­tions and it’s a won­der­ful po­si­tion to be in.”

But­ton made his For­mula 1 de­but with Wil­liams in ’00 But­ton dur­ing his one-year Grove stay

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