McLaren Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier has confirmed that Jenson Button will remain with the Woking based outfit in 2017 as the team’s official reserve driver.
The 2009 world champion who did not attend the launch of the MCL32 as he is holidaying in the US will conduct extensive simulator work to help develop the car. Boullier has also confirmed that Button, who has been with McLaren since 2010 will attend some races with the team this year.
Boullier has also confirmed that Button will carry out extensive promotional programmes for the team in his role as McLaren Honda ambassador.
McLaren have not revealed what races Button will attend this season. Speaking at the launch of the MCL32, Eric Boullier commented by saying:
Within McLaren-Honda, there’s a tangible feeling of progress, of change. This year’s rules reset is a valuable opportunity for us – it will allow us to make progress with what we feel is a well ordered and clearly defined chassis-engine package, and hopefully to narrow the delta between us and the front-running teams.
“The addition of a striking orange and black paint job reinforces the notion that we’re moving away from what immediately preceded it, but it’s the engineering detail on the MCL32 that really impresses me. It’s the result of a huge amount of work from a team that has really developed together over the past few years. The chassis is incredibly well realised, the power unit has been significantly developed and, in Fernando and Stoffel, we have a hugely exciting driver pairing that’s already blending really well.
“There’s a feeling around the factory that we’re about to turn the corner. Our relationship with Honda has blossomed – there’s a real sense of comradeship to what we do now – and I think we’re all very excited about what we can achieve together this year.
“Technically, in 2017 man and machine will be pushed to the absolute limit, owing to higher speeds and more severe braking. All our partners and suppliers have done a great job, but I want to mention Akebono, one of our team’s long-standing technology partners, who have developed all-new brake callipers and brake systems to cope with the increased loads and forces that will face Fernando, Stoffel and the MCL32.”
The team will start their winter testing programme with the MCL32 later today at the Barcelona Circuit Du Catalunya in Spain.
Speaking at the launch of the new car, McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown commented by saying:
McLaren has always been the team in Formula 1 for me, and I’m massively motivated to be able to help re-establish the team where I firmly believe it belongs: at the very pinnacle of Formula 1.
“Assisting us reach that goal will be a fantastic group of partners that have supported us throughout the years, ranging from long-term collaborations with SAP and Johnnie Walker, through to our newest partnerships with Castrol and Stratasys, both of which have been announced this year. I want to say on behalf of the entire McLaren-Honda team: a massive thank you to all our partners for all your amazing enthusiasm and support.
“Indeed, I’m hugely encouraged by the amount of attention this year’s McLaren-Honda launch has garnered, and by the number of our partners in attendance – not only at the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre in Woking [UK], but also at our concurrent event in Tokyo [Japan], which is taking place at a Hilton hotel; Hilton is one of our partners, of course.
“To everyone who has given us their support, today is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass of Chandon, which is another one of our partners, to celebrate the launch of our new car.