The 2009 world champion will become a special advisor to the Williams team.
As he just celebrated his 41th birthday last Tuesday, Jenson Button announced his return to Formula 1 ! But, unlike his former rival and teammate Fernando Alonso, the Briton will not drive: he will take on the role of special advisor at the head of the Williams team from this season.
The 2009 world champion is therefore returning to the team where he made his debut in F1, 21 years ago. The team was then much more competitive than today, Button becoming even the youngest driver to score points in history (at the time), finishing sixth in his second race in F1. A promising start therefore, but his youth and inexperience, coupled with an aggressive driver policy at Williams, mean that he does not stay in the team after this first season.
An eventful career, the title in 2009
After a visit to Benetton then Renault, Button finds himself in the team based in Brackley, England. He will follow his many adventures, from BAR to Honda, then Brawn in 2009. Driving a dominating single-seater, he won the drivers’ title that year, before moving to McLaren to become Lewis Hamilton’s teammate. In a team which is gradually losing its feet, he nevertheless becomes the only driver, with Nico Rosberg, to beat Lewis Hamilton in one season, in the same car. At the end of his career, he was joined at McLaren by Fernando Alonso. But the transition to the hybrid and Honda engines went badly, and the team was relegated to the bottom of the grid.
At the end of 2016, he announced his gradual withdrawal from F1. He returns for the last time in the Monaco Grand Prix in 2017, replacing Alonso, who races at the Indianapolis 500. Released from his McLaren contract, he took part in many races after 2017, notably in Japan in Super GT, but also in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018.
The older generation still in business
His return to F1, albeit as an advisor, marks the still very present imprint of this generation which arrived in the early 2000s. Alonso will drive this 2021 season for Alpine F1, while Kimi Raikkönen will keep his wheel at Alfa Romeo. A Schumacher is also back, with Mick, Michael’s son, at Haas.
Button will have a role of supporting the team at Williams which can be crucial, as Niki Lauda had shown at Mercedes. He will also be responsible for overseeing the development of the team’s drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi. Williams indicates that Button will be present in several races, and that his contract runs over several years.