Jenson Button says he wants to still be involved in the testing of McLaren’s 2017 car while he takes a sabbatical from racing in F1.
The 36-year-old announced he will not race for McLaren in 2017 earlier this month, instead becoming an ambassador for the team and taking on a reserve driver role as Stoffel Vandoorne is promoted to a race seat. While eager for a break from the F1 schedule, Button could return to race in 2018 and as a result wants track time in next year’s car alongside his simulator work.
Asked if he is keen to ensure he gets time physically testing a 2017 car next season, Button replied: “Yeah, it would be nice.
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“And it’s always possible – there’s 25 days testing… I haven’t talked to Ron [Dennis] about it, we haven’t mentioned it at all. There’s a lot of testing and I’m sure the race drivers aren’t going to want to do three days testing back-to-back.
“First of all they won’t be able to hold their head up, which will be awesome. Now drivers get into a Formula One car, first day they do over 100 laps, 120 laps. For us to do 100 laps 10 years ago was impossible, you couldn’t keep your neck up, and to do back-to-back days was horrific.
“[During the tyre war] we did two days, maybe even three days and you were hanging. Third day you were just holding on.”
Pascal Wehrlein has been testing 2017 tyres for Pirelli using a Mercedes mule car designed to simulate increased downforce levels, and after his first three days in the car ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix he noted a clear difference physically.
“It was harder for the neck, so I will do even more training this winter to prepare!” Wehrlein admitted. “Of course it’s more difficult, the faster you go the harder it is.”
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