Alonso declares Button 'best team mate I ever had'

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Fernando Alonso has said that Jenson Button is the best team mate that he's had in Formula One, after the announcement that the British driver is standing down from racing full time with McLaren at the end of the current season.

Button will take sabbatical in 2017 but will continue working with the team, and has an option to return to a race seat in 2018 should Alonso himself decide to retire from the sport at the end of his current contract.

"First of all we will obviously have Jenson in the team which is the most important thing when talking about the drivers' line-up for next year," said Alonso.

"I have been working with Jenson for the last two years, it was fantastic work," he continued.

"Probably - not probably, I can say he is the best team mate I ever had in terms of performance, feedback with engineers, and the car development."

But while praising Button's work in developing the current McLaren-Honda package, Alonso was also enthusiastic to see what Stoffel Vandoorne will be able to do now that the former GP2 champion is to get his chance in the full-time race seat next year.

"The best news of this announcement, this change, is that we will have Stoffel in the car with fresh ideas to push the team to the maximum," Alonso concurred.

"But also we still have Jenson around us, helping us, giving all his contributions. It's very good news for the future.

"I am ready and I am looking forward to [the 2017 season opener in] Australia," he added.

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