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Button, Vandoorne enter 2017 'silly season'

Formula 1 News - May, 2016

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May 14 (GMM) 'Silly season' rumours about the futures of Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne are revving up in Barcelona.

When asked ahead of the Spanish grand prix if he would like to have the veteran Button as his 2017 teammate, Williams' Valtteri Bottas answered: "Yes."

But according to the Spanish daily Marca, a press officer immediately interrupted the Finn's interview, with Bottas agreeing: "I know for myself what rumours are like."

It is actually strongly rumoured that Button, 36, came very close to switching to Williams for 2016, with McLaren-Honda only deciding to retain him late in the piece.

"It would be a lovely end to the Button story to go full circle," former F1 mechanic Marc Priestley said on the Sky programme F1 Report, referring to the fact that, then just 20, Button made his debut for the Grove team in 2000.

Another strong paddock rumour is that McLaren has already decided to replace Button for 2017 with its young charger Stoffel Vandoorne.

"We have the priority choice on him," admitted team boss Eric Boullier, referring to the reigning GP2 champion and Belgian.

"But if there is no place for him here, we could consider lending him to another team."

When asked by the Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure if Renault might be an option for Vandoorne, reuniting him with his 2015 boss Frederic Vasseur, Boullier answered: "Why not?

"But it is too early to tell. Everything will move along when we have made our choice of drivers for 2017."

Vasseur, however, denied that Vandoorne could race for Renault next year.

"Despite all the friendship and esteem I have for Stoffel, it would not make sense to accept him from McLaren for one year.

"We cannot develop a driver for a year and then hand him to the competition," he insisted.

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