Williams won't wait on Button


Claire Williams says she is not prepared to wait around for a decision on whether Jenson Button will (re)join her team.

As the Grove outfit sinks further into a slump, there is talk of reorganization not only in terms of backroom staff but the driver line-up, indeed it is believed that both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are likely to be dropped at season end.

For some time there has been talk that Jenson Button might return to the team with whom he made his F1 debut in 2000, and comments made by team boss Claire Williams suggests that this is more than just idle speculation.

At a time McLaren has made it clear that it has no intention of deciding on its 2017 driver line-up until much later in the year, Williams has said that her team cannot wait around for ever.

While Button still has the motivation, the choice between the two legendary British teams must be hard. On the one hand there is the team that brought him into the sport, admittedly going through a difficult phase, whilst on the other the last eighteen months of frustration at McLaren-Honda look like they might finally pay off.

Although he has a contract with McLaren for 2017, a despondent Fernando Alonso wants to see what the new rules package brings, whilst waiting in the wings in Stoffel Vandoorne.

However, whilst McLaren might have an embarrassment of riches in terms of its driver pool, Williams is running out of patience.

"We will own our driver line-up decision, and I am not sat here waiting for Ron Dennis to make his decision or for Jenson to make his," she told the Press Association.

"It is not about what other people are doing," she continued. "I am not going to be waiting around because that is just not the right mentality for a team like ours to have.

"It would be a great story," she admitted of Button's return to Grove, "but he has to make the right choice for him, and we have to make the right choice for the team.

"When I talk about the criteria that we are looking at, it is the talent in the cockpit, the intelligence to feed back to the engineers, and for us, as an independent team, the commercial factors are going to play a part in the decision-making process too. You can't have an unknown driver in your car. It is just not going to work."

Asked about Sergio Perez, who insists he has not yet committed himself to Force India for 2017 despite Vijay Mallya's claims to the contrary, she said: "Sergio has done a great job this year, he is an intelligent driver, and of course he is going to be someone we are looking at.

"I have only met him briefly on the odd occasion. He is very charming. He is very eloquent, so commercially he would be strong for any team. Of course he is going to be someone you'd consider if he is available."

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Published: 02/08/2016
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