SET TO RETIRE? Jenson Button will take a step towards retiring from F1 as he will be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne in 2017.Image: AP / Antonio Calanni
Monza — Former F1 champion Jenson Button will move into semi-retirement next season as McLaren Honda promotes Stoffel Vandoorne into the second driver spot alongside Fernando Alonso.
McLaren chairman Ron Dennis says Button will "continue to be a senior, influential, and committed member of the team, and will remain centrally involved in the development of our cars. He'll also be available to race for us if circumstances require it."
The 36-year-old Button won the F1 title with Brawn in 2009, and has 15 career victories. He's in his seventh season with McLaren.
Vandoorne, a highly sought-after Belgian, has been part of McLaren's development program since 2013.
Vandoorne finished 10th in his F1 debut when he replaced Alonso at the Bahrain GP this year.