McLaren's racing director Eric Boullier says despite the team ending its partnership with Jenson Button the British driver will remains part of the squad’s “family” having been a “brilliant driver and ambassador”.

After McLaren confirmed Lando Norris would step up as its reserve and third driver from 2018, Button’s partnership with the Woking-based team will come to an end having joined in 2010 as reigning F1 world champion from Brawn GP.

Having stepped down as a full-time F1 driver at the end of 2016, taking up the back-up role behind Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne this season, Button will now leave McLaren to pursue other racing commitments with the British driver having previously voiced an interest in Japan’s Super GT series.

Reacting to the confirmation in Brazil, Boullier insists Button will always to welcomed back to McLaren having clinched eight F1 race wins with the team including the British squad’s last victory back at the 2012 season finale.

“Jenson has been a brilliant driver and ambassador for us, for Formula 1 and for England as well,” Boullier said. “His contract is ending at the end of this year but he will always be part of the McLaren family and always have a special place for us.

“That's life and this is another step and another chapter with Lando stepping in to the third driver role.”


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