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Williams: We 'need a driver like Button'

02 Aug 2016

Williams have talked up the prospect of Jenson Button returning to the team for 2017, but insist they will not put their own plans on hold for the Briton to sort his future with McLaren.

The 2009 world champion's contract with McLaren expires at the end of the season, and the Woking-based team have intimated they will not rush a decision on their line-up next year given they have Stoffel Vandoorne waiting in the wings.

Williams meanwhile have faced much speculation about their own line-up, with speculation that they could part ways with Felipe Massa at the end of the year - and potentially bring in Button, who began his F1 career with the team back in 2000.

"It would be a great story, but he [Button] has to make the right choice for him, and we have to make the right choice for the team," team principal Claire Williams told Press Assoication Sport. 

"He is a great talent in the car, but also outside of the car and we need a driver like him.

"We will own our driver line-up decision, and I am not sat here waiting for Ron Dennis to make his decision or for Jenson to make his decision. 

"It it is not about what other people are doing. I am not going to be waiting around because that is just not the right mentality for a team like ours to have."

Williams said that Button is not the only potential candidate for her team, and said Force India's Sergio Perez in particular has caught the eye.

"Sergio has done a great job this year, he is an intelligent driver, and of course he is going to be someone we are looking at," she added.

"I have only met him briefly on the odd occasion. He is very charming. He is very eloquent, so commercially he would be strong for any team. Of course he is going to be someone you'd consider if he is available."

Force India chief Vijay Mallya has said Perez is under contract for next - and the man himself says he is happy at the team - but the Mexican told recently that he wants to sit down with his sponsors in the summer to discuss his future.

Massa and Valtteri Bottas have lined up for Williams for the past three seasons.