Jenson Button has rejoined his first Formula 1 team Williams as a ‘senior advisor’.
Button drove for Williams as a 20-year-old rookie in 2000, having been given the chance straight out of British Formula 3 when the team decided to replace Alex Zanardi following his poor 1999 season.
“I am so delighted to once again be able to say that I’ve signed for Williams,” he said.
“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.”
Button’s new role was described by Williams as providing “advice and guidance to the team”, and “helping support and develop both race and academy drivers”.
His appointment is part of the changes being carried out at Williams following its acquisition by new owner Dorilton Capital last year.
Jost Capito, whose arrival as chief executive officer is another part of that process, called Button’s signing “another positive step to help us move forward as a team both on and off track”.
During that 2000 season with Williams, Button scored his first F1 points in only his second grand prix – having been on course to do so on his debut before an engine failure.
He took a best result of fourth in the German Grand Prix and qualified third in Belgium, though it was his fifth places in qualifying and the race on his Suzuka debut that perhaps impressed most.
But with Williams committed to bringing in Juan Pablo Montoya alongside Ralf Schumacher for 2001, Button’s time at the team was limited to a single season and he departed for Benetton the following year.
He made a subsequent attempt to rejoin Williams for 2005 while under contract with BAR, and ultimately had to stay put after a protracted dispute – before signing another Williams deal for 2006 that he then had to buy himself out of.