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F1 Italian GP: Button replaced by Vandoorne at McLaren for 2017

Jenson Button will move out of his role as driver at McLaren and replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne for 2017 as part of a new two-year contract.
Jenson Button will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne in McLaren's driver line-up for 2017 alongside Fernando Alonso, after the British driver signed a new two-year deal to take on a new role.

McLaren has confirmed it will use 'an innovative three-driver strategy' for the next two seasons after Button signed a new deal to stay within the team fold. Button will be replaced by Vandoorne in McLaren's driver line-up for 2017 but will remain a key member and ambassador for the F1 squad.

As expected, Alonso will continue as a full-time McLaren driver for 2017 and will team-mate youngster Vandoorne.

The news effectively ends the strong rumours linking Button to a move to Williams off the back of Felipe Massa's retirement from F1 at the end of the 2016 season, which had been announced in the build-up to the Italian Grand Prix.

Click here for full qualifying results for the Italian Grand Prix

With Alonso's current contract at the Woking-based squad running until the end of the 2017 season, it is not yet known whether Button would return to racing in F1 with McLaren in 2018, a decision which is unlikely to be confirmed until later next year.

For 2017, Button will act as a development and reserve driver - the role Vandoorne has held for the previous two years - and act as an ambassador for McLaren.

McLaren Chairman and CEO Ron Dennis has expressed his delight at retaining Button for two more years and hasn't ruled out the possibility of the British driver returning to a race seat for 2018.

“McLaren-Honda's race driver line-up next season will be Fernando and Stoffel – a perfectly balanced mix of proven brilliance and immense potential,” Dennis said. “Having extended his [Button's] contract to include 2017 and 2018, he'll continue to be a senior, influential and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He'll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it.

“On behalf of all at McLaren-Honda, I want to say how thrilled we are that Jenson has extended his contractual relationship with us. Moreover, I'm absolutely certain that the depth of his experience and the currency of his expertise will give us an advantage over our opposition next season.”

Having overseen a successful F1 debut for Vandoorne when he stepped in for the injured Alonso in Bahrain, Dennis is confident the 24-year-old is prepared for the challenge of a full F1 campaign.

“Stoffel has been a member of the McLaren Young Driver Programme since February 2013, and was appointed our Test and Development Driver 11 months later,” Dennis said. “Over the past two-and-a-half years he's made a very valuable contribution in that role. He's now completed with distinction a meticulously designed apprenticeship.

“He's consequently now ready to race in Formula 1, as his fine Grand Prix debut in Bahrain this year proved.”

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Related Pictures

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15.04.2016 - Free Practice 2, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
Lando Norris, McLaren, Honda [Credit: McLaren F1]
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads
Start of the race - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 leads

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September 03, 2016 7:18 PM

LiVio: Jensons always been a mug , to loyal for his own good sums up hi career , they are keeping him on at The request of alonso because he knows he couldn't develop a photo !!!! How the hell he can justify his 40 million a year when jensons on 8 is shocking button has been faster then him ever since he arrived
A mug? World champion. Multi millionaire. Being paid a fortune to promote McLaren and help develop their car. Gets to spend more of his time as he wishes. I'd happily be that mug.


September 03, 2016 4:32 PM

Just reading details elsewhere and JB seems very happy with the deal. Alonso notes JB is his strongest teammate ever. Even Ron is calling it a sabbatical, and why not? Super fit, professional, and very fast. He'll probably do some sports car races too. Getting paid big salary to develop cars for McLaren while having more time for his other interests must seem like a dream deal for JB. Much better than a race seat in another car destined for mediocrity.

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