Thursday 1 December at 09:35 :
Dec.1 (GMM) Jenson Button will continue to contribute to McLaren-Honda in 2017.
That is the claim of team boss Eric Boullier, even though in the wake of team supremo Ron Dennis' departure, Button in Abu Dhabi was suddenly referring to it as his "last race" rather than the start of a sabbatical.
But France's Auto Hebdo quoted Boullier as insisting that Button's role in 2017 as a team ambassador, including another contracted year for 2018, still stands.
"Jenson will be perfect in this role," he insisted.
"He knows how to share his feelings and defend the interests of a brand," Boullier added, saying Button will also be "useful" for the engineers next year.
"This year I think Jenson had a drop in pressure; a sudden moral fatigue," the Frenchman explained.
"He did not tackle his 17th season in a situation of a potential winner, but as part of a large technical construction programme. Different to (Fernando) Alonso," Boullier added, "because it was he (Alonso) who chose this challenge."