Button returns to Williams in advisor role 21 years after F1 debut

2021 F1 season

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Williams has appointed 2009 world champion Jenson Button as a senior advisor to the team.

It marks a return to the team for Button, who made his debut as a Formula 1 driver with Williams in 2000.

The winner of 15 grands prix will support and aid the development of the team’s race drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, and Williams’ junior academy talent. He will also fulfil media and marketing duties for the team, while continuing his separate role as a pundit for Sky television.

Button spent a single season at Williams in 2000. Although he was replaced by Juan Pablo Montoya at the end of the year, he went on to enjoy a successful career, winning races for Honda, Brawn and McLaren.

He came close to returning to his original team in the mid-noughties. In 2004 and 2005 Button was involved in contractual disputes over potential moves from BAR to Williams. But he stayed put and never returned to the team which gave him his F1 debut until now.

Button retired from Formula 1 racing at the end of 2016, but made a single start in 2017 as a substitute for Fernando Alonso at McLaren in the Monaco Grand Prix. He went on to race GT cars, winning the Japanese Super GT championship in 2018 sharing a Honda NSX with Naoki Yamamoto, and competed in the British GT championship last year.

Button made his F1 debut with Williams in 2000
His arrival at Williams comes in the midst of management changes at the team following its sale by the founding Williams family to Dorilton last year. Jost Capito will take over as the team’s CEO next month.

“Bringing Jenson back on board is another positive step to help us move forward as a team both on and off track,” said Capito. “Jenson has always been a friend of the team and so it is great to welcome him back into the Williams family.

“Back in 2000, Sir Frank saw the promising talent Jenson had as a driver and gave him his first opportunity in F1. He more than fulfilled that initial promise throughout a glittering career that culminated in world championship glory.

“More recently, he has shown his acumen in both the business and broadcasting worlds and remains a widely respected figure in the paddock. All this experience will add another layer to our transformation both technically and as a business.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Button returns to Williams in advisor role 21 years after F1 debut”

  1. A news I’d never anticipated.

    Button and Williams, two nice entities.

  2. I always find “advisor” roles to be a bit hard to pin down. What aspects would he be advising on? Car development? Strategy? Driver coaching?

    1. will support and aid the development of the team’s race drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, and Williams’ junior academy talent. He will also fulfil media and marketing duties for the team

      G

  3. Only one thing to take from this: Hamilton retirement and Russell to Mercedes confirmed.

    1. Another thing announced in a shorter time than Hamilton’s contract extension!

      1. No offence Dave, but the joke is getting rather stale now – not least because it’s not even clear if that is really the case, since there is no indication how long Button and Williams might have been talking about this deal.

        1. I’m just mocking Mercedes.

    2. Brilliant! Don’t suppose you have next week’s lottery numbers too?

      1. 6, 12,34,40,42,55
        please share the profit

  4. I have to say I am glad to hear that. Button was always my favourite driver, and if this is a first step to becoming properly involved in the sporting side of F1 I would be delighted.

  5. Brilliant! Don’t suppose you have next week’s lottery numbers too?

  6. At first glance, I misread Button as Bottas. How silly of me.

  7. Button hasn’t got a track record as mentor or trainer for drivers. Russell in the past got advice from Hamilton a much better source than Button.

  8. A good choice by Williams but very weird to be their PR man and still a Sky pundit..

    1. Not entirely dissimilar to DC’s affiliation with Red Bull I suppose

      1. …and remember DC as co commentator and De Resta’s manager. ‘So driver of the day David?’ ‘ has to be De Resta for his sensational run to 9th’.

        If there was no vested interests in F1 there would be no interest at all.

  9. The very fact that the existing drivers need coaching is somwhat a concern. I think its more a need for an experienced hand in car development keeping in mind the not so distant regulatory changes.

    1. @pinakghosh is it really all that of a concern when the idea of driver coaching goes back decades?

      If anything, you’ve had figures like Jackie Stewart asking why teams have not made far greater use of driver coaches than they have to date – not only because of how effective they’ve been in other professional sports, but also because, at least in the time frame he references (the 1960s and 1970s), quite a few of the skills that an older driver might be expected to impart to a younger driver are quite similar to what a modern driver coach might teach a driver today.

    2. It’s not really that unusual in professional sport. Golf (Tiger Woods, Greg Norman), tennis, cricket all use individual coaches in one form or another. I’m sure there are many more pro sports that use them.

  10. Dorilton wants to sell the team to Honda?!

    1. But they hired the VW man.. German maker, Button raced williams BMW. Bmw is buying Dorilton.

  11. I wonder if Button and Russell will have a beer and a laugh about the art of binning it behind the safety car.?

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