WILLIAMS EYES BUTTON FOR 2017
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.”