Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button will return to Williams, the team he made his F1 debut with back in 2000, in an advisory role.
Button drove for Williams alongside Ralf Schumacher for a single season before joining Benetton the following year. He drove for BAR Honda before the team sold out to Ross Brawn and Nick Fry for the 2009 season.
Button was retained and went on to win the championship that year in the dominant Brawn BGP 001 before the team was taken over by Mercedes, with Button moving to McLaren where he finished his F1 career.
Williams was sold to new owners last year, ending the Williams’ family’s involvement in the team, amidst financial struggles due to poor on-track results and the coronavirus pandemic.
New owners Dorilton Capital have since made a number of changes, including a closer relationship with Mercedes which will see the team utilise its transmission and gearbox from 2022.
The team announced on Friday that Button will return to the team in a senior advisor role on a multi-year agreement, to “provide advice and guidance to the team at Grove, along with helping support and develop both race and academy drivers”.
“Throughout the 2021 season, he will attend a number of Grands Prix with Williams alongside taking part in some team events in the UK,” the team statement continued.
“Jenson will also support Williams’ media and marketing activities when required throughout the season. Jenson will also be continuing his media duties as expert analyst with Sky Sports F1 this season, alongside his new role with the team.”
“I am so delighted to once again be able to say that I’ve signed for Williams,” commented Button. “Back when I was 19 it was a moment that changed my life and, despite the fact it was over 20 years ago, I already feel like I never really left.
“Sir Frank Williams showed faith in me which I will be eternally grateful for and I am incredibly excited to have the chance to come back and help the team as it strives once more for success. There’s a lot of hard work to be done but I have no doubt the future is incredibly bright for this fantastic team and I can’t wait to get started.”
Incoming CEO Jost Capito added: “Bringing Jenson back on board is another positive step to help us move forward as a team both on and off track.
“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. I know everyone at Grove has huge respect for him and we’re delighted to start working with him.”