[F1 2017 NEWS] MCLAREN: BUTTON ON MCLAREN

2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button remains one of the sport’s most recognisable faces, with the Brit still under contract to McLaren through to the end of 2018 as part of a three-driver strategy at the British team.

But the 37-year-old is unlikely to enjoy another race in F1 - as he did with the team this year in Monaco - where he replaced the Indianapolis-bound Fernando Alonso to make his 306th start, equalling Michael Schumacher for second on the all-time start list.

There, the Brit qualified ninth, ahead of his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne - before crashing out following contact with Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein.

And while Button will likely race away from F1 in Japan’s Super GT series, he’s still got his finger on the pulse at McLaren - which is going through its messy divorce with Honda, before switching to Renault from 2018.

The squad managing to hold onto Button’s former teammate, two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, who the Brit rates highly.

SOUNDBITE - JENSON BUTTON, 2009 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“He's very talented. I think you can't judge someone's ability on how many world championships they’ve won, I don't think. He's a world championship driver and he's probably the most complete driver on the grid, I would say.”

But while many - both inside, and out of the F1 paddock - lament the three years Alonso has spent unable to win, arguing that the Spaniard deserves to be up front - Button is far more pragmatic in his assessment.

SOUNDBITE - JENSON BUTTON, 2009 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I mean, who deserves what. You work hard for it but you've got to find yourself in the right place at the right time. Even if you're the best driver in the world and you're much better than everyone else it doesn't matter. If you don't have the equipment, you won't win.”

Naturally, 2018 pre-season testing in Barcelona will determine if McLaren has made a quantum leap forward with Renault, its chassis an underrated element throughout the Honda partnership. 

But another challenger at the front is what F1 needs, with 2017’s Ferrari- Mercedes battle a breath of fresh air for fans.

SOUNDBITE  - JENSON BUTTON, 2009 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I've watched every race. I didn't think I would, but I have, because I love that fight between two manufacturers, [and] two great drivers - I think that's what people will turn on to see.”