McLaren-Honda driver and 2009 World Champion Jenson Button is said to be in contention for a co-hosting role at popular motor TV show Top Gear, say several sources.
Until earlier this year, the long-running and popular show was hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, and enjoyed an extensive worldwide viewership. The trio visited India in 2012 as well, running what would later be touted a controversial series of episodes.
Earlier this year, Clarkson was sacked following an altercation on set, where he physically assaulted a producer on the show. After this, colleagues Hammond and May decided to withdraw as well. The BBC, which runs the programme, announced that British Radio DJ Chris Evans would take over hosting duties.
A new name has now entered the fray, and that is of the driver otherwise known as the gentleman of Formula One. British driver Button is known for being friendly and open, and it is perhaps this that, in addition to his obvious motorsport expertise, could make him a good fit for the show. He is also a friend of Evans.
These are not the only rumours surrounding Button, who, along with longtime team McLaren, has been having a lot of bad luck this racing season. The driver had no points this year until Hungary, where he finished 9th, scoring 2 points. McLaren’s only points until then had come from Button’s teammate and former double world champion Fernando Alonso, who finished 10th at Silverstone and then 5th at the recently concluded Hungarian Grand Prix.
New talk indicates Button, who has himself in the past said he would like to stay with McLaren until his retirement will be bought by British racing team Williams, with strong rumours suggesting that Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, who is currently with Williams, is due to replace his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari next season.
If the rumours are substantiated, it would mean he would have to be released from what was confirmed last year to be a multi-year contract with McLaren-Honda.