According to Williams F1 deputy team principal Claire Williams, current McLaren driver Jenson Button is a “very attractive” option for her team next year.
Button’s contract with McLaren is set to expire at the end of this campaign, as are Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa’s deals with Williams, though it is currently believed that Bottas will be retained for 2017.
Should Button decide to sign with Williams, it would mean returning to the team he began his F1 career with no fewer than 16 years ago.
“It would be lovely [to have Button back at Williams,” said Claire Williams in an interview with Autosport. “The story is great. There are some great talents out there and Jenson is very attractive commercially as well.”
The deputy principal added that Button “is also an extremely intelligent driver from a variety of different angles so of course he is going to be up there for consideration. When I went to Silverstone and I was on the big stage, Tony Jardine who was the MC said to the crowd: ‘Tell Claire how much you’d like to see Jenson back in a Williams.”
“The whole place erupted. It was extraordinary.”
There are however a few financial factors that need to be taken into consideration. Williams technical director Pat Symonds knows this all to well, stating that he has “no idea what Jenson’s salary is and that is an important part of the equation.”
It is believed that the team is also considering Force India’s Sergio Perez (also wanted by Renault) and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, along with Button, as one of them could end up being paired with Bottas – thought to remain with the team for what will be his fifth season.