Jenson Button has called the opportunity to take a sabbatical from racing full-time in Formula 1 next year a “dream” after announcing his new role with McLaren.
Following qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Saturday, Button announced that he had signed a new two-year deal with McLaren that would see him step down from his race seat for 2017.
The 2009 world champion will work as a McLaren ambassador and act as the team’s reserve driver, as well as aiding the development of its F1 car.
McLaren also has the option to bring Button back into a full-time race seat for 2018 should both parties be willing, quashing talk of retirement.
Speaking at the press conference on Saturday, Button said the chance to take a break from racing and possibly return is one he relishes.
“For a driver that’s been in the sport for so long, and has achieved what I’ve achieved, winning a world championship, winning many grands prix and podiums, it really is a dream to be able to have that rest and the possibility of racing in the future,” Button said.
“This is something that really works for me, that I’m so, so happy with.
“I’ll also be doing a lot of stuff that I haven’t done for 17 years. I’ll be living on my schedule, I’ll get up when I want, I’ll do what I want for a lot of the days of the year, spend more time with my friends and, more importantly, my family who I haven’t properly seen for 17 years. That’s something that I’m really excited about.
“I’m also an avid fan and lover of triathlons as you probably know, so there are many things I want to do that I haven’t been able to do because of the F1 schedule.”