Jenson Button says McLaren opted not to show him anything of its 2017 car until he signed a new two-year deal which includes taking a sabbatical from F1 next year.
The British driver will vacate his McLaren race seat next season to make way for Stoffel Vandoorne, with Button taking up the F1 development driver role. It is not yet known whether Button will return to racing in F1 in 2018 as part of his two-year deal, a decision which is unlikely to be confirmed until later next year.
Speaking in Austin, Button says he is yet to drive the simulated version of McLaren's 2017 challenger, while both Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso have already spent lengthy amounts of time in the simulator preparing for next season, and his absence was caused by his contract negotiations, which adds fuel to the rumour of Button talking to Williams about a move in 2017 which eventually fell flat.
“I obviously didn't see the 2017 car for a little while as I was decided what to do for next year,” Button said. “I will be back at the factory and drive it in the simulator.
"Stoffel and Fernando have driven it but they want my views and how the car feels which is good and I look forward to it. I will have input into it.”
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Button will take up the key role as development driver at McLaren for its 2017 car while also enjoying time away from racing in F1, which the 2009 world champion has been a part of since making his debut for Williams in 2000 and recently became only the third driver in history to start over 300 F1 races.
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