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Jenson Button turned down offers from rival stables: McLaren

The 36-year-old Briton, world champion in 2009, announced on Saturday that he was stepping out of his race seat with the team next year to be replaced by Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.

Jenson Button turned down offers from rival stables: McLaren

New Delhi: Jenson Button turned down offers from rival teams before he chose to remain as an ambassador and development driver with McLaren, team chief Ron Dennis has confirmed.

The 36-year-old Briton, world champion in 2009, announced on Saturday that he was stepping out of his race seat with the team next year to be replaced by Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.

But he could make a comeback in 2018, the team having retained an option on him as a race driver - especially if team-mate Fernando Alonso decides not to stay beyond the end of his contract when it expires.

"Jenson had offers to drive next year in other teams and declined those offers," said Dennis, who declined to add much detail to the terms under which Button has been retained.

"I can`t give you straight answers to those questions," he added. "The reality is we`ll see where we are in a year. We`ll get there and then we`ll decide if we`re going to exercise it [the option] or not.

"But, at that point, Jenson has to step into the situation with all the right motivation, focus and everything.

"So, it`s not a one-way decision - and what is clear though is, if Jenson`s going to drive a Formula One car in 2018, I believe it can only be a McLaren.

"I don`t think Jenson has a desire to drive anybody else`s car."

Vandoorne said he had "big shoes to fill" in replacing Button.

"Stepping into Jenson`s seat is not easy as a young driver but I`m totally up for a challenge," he said.

"Both are world champions. I`ve been in a reserve driver position this year where I`ve been following them on track from a very different position.

"I`ve been learning a lot from how they push a team forward, how they help with the development, and having all three of us pushing this team forward we could be very successful."

Button was strongly linked with a return to his first team Williams who have a vacancy following Brazilian Felipe Massa`s announcement on Thursday that he intends to retire this year.

From Zee News

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