Jenson Button Retires From Racing, Will Assume Another Role At McLaren-Honda

Apparently, Felipe Massa won’t be the only senior F1 driver who won’t be returning next season. Neither, as it turns out, will Jenson Button.

Instead of racing with McLaren-Honda next season, or switching to another team, the former world champion has opted to take a back seat. He’ll stick with McLaren for another couple of seasons at least, but instead of actively racing, he’ll dedicate his talents and energies towards development, while also serving as a brand ambassador and reserve driver should he be needed.

His replacement will be Stoffel Vandoorne. The 24-year-old Belgian driver has been in the McLaren Young Driver Programme since 2013, serving as the team’s test driver the past two seasons and racing in Japan’s Super Formula series under Honda power this season. Vandoorne won the GP2 Series title last year, making him the strongest contender to move up to the big leagues – and now that moment has come.

He’ll be driving alongside Fernando Alonso, who returns to the team for the third straight season. The shakeup in its drivers lineup isn’t the only major personnel change taking effect at McLaren, either, as former Volkswagen/Ford rally chief Jost Capito arrives at the team as its new CEO.

Born in 1979 and 1981, respectively, and with contracts in place for next year, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso remain the oldest drivers on the grid, well ahead of 31-year-old Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who were both both in ’85.

Surprising as it may be to see a former world champ walk off the grid for good, the arrangement is not unheard of. Since retiring, Mika Hakkinen has served as a driver-at-large for both McLaren and its longtime partner Mercedes. Michael Schumacher played key behind-the-scenes roles for both Ferrari and Mercedes following his retirements as well. And ten years now since retiring, David Coulthard has remained closely associated with the Red Bull team he helped get off the ground. In that context, it’s not hard to see Button playing an elder-statesman role with McLaren instead of stretching out his career at another team, such as Williams, as Massa has until now.

PHOTOS

This Shed Is Probably Faster Than Your Car – Wait, What?

The small building on wheels started life as a Volkswagen Passat and is powered by an Audi RS4 V8 engine.

Land Rover Defender Flying Huntsman 6×6 Goes For Almost $300K!

Apart from the extra axle, this Defender features a pickup truck conversion and a ‘Vette-sourced, 430 HP V8.

This Is How The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class May Look Like

The revamped S-Class will feature taillights similar to the current CLS, but the rest of its design is, right now, just speculation.

Black Honda S2000 Club Racer Is Very Rare, Desirable, And Relatively Affordable

The CR uses the same 237 HP naturally aspirated four as the regular S2K, but sports some chassis and bodywork mods.

Is Porsche Understating The New 911 Carrera S’ Power Figures?

Officially, the twin-turbo flat-six churns out a very respectable 443 HP, but in reality, that number could be closer to 480 HP.

Pay $20 For A Chance To Win A 2020 Toyota Supra And Support A Good Cause

Money raised from this Supra Launch Edition raffle will benefit a children’s hospital.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Meets 991 GT2 RS, 997 GT3 RS For A Tire-Slaying Fest

How does the new 718 Cayman GT4 compare to two of the finest 911s Porsche’s GT division has ever created?.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA: Mini CLS Or Sleeker Alternative To The A-Class?

The new CLA is a good daily driver and a quality item, so if you don’t mind the cramped back seat, go for it.

It’ll Cost You $26k To Make Your Vantage Look Like This, Get An Extra 90 Horses

While the price does seem steep, bear in mind that this is a $150k Aston, and the list consists of quite a few upgrades.

Suzuki Jimny Shows Its Off-Roading Prowess Against A Triumph Scrambler

With a mere 101 HP, power is not the Jimny’s strong suit. It’s off-road capabilities, though, are, but do they suffice against the Triumph?.