Belfast Telegraph

Jenson Button rules out Top Gear job after renewing F1 contract

Jenson Button has ruled himself out of being a presenter on Top Gear after renewing his contract with McLaren Honda for the 2016 Formula One season.

The Somerset-born racer, 35, had been tipped to co-present the new-look BBC motoring show alongside Chris Evans, who is replacing Jeremy Clarkson as lead presenter.

Button, who married model Jessica Michibata in December last year, appeared twice on Top Gear before Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left, taking part in the Star in the Reasonably Priced Car challenge.

He announced the new contract on Twitter, writing: " I'm very pleased to announce I will be racing with #MclarenHonda in 2016. #dedication #believeinMclarenHonda."

Clarkson was sacked from Top Gear for punching producer Oisin Tymon in a row over food in March.

Hammond and May left the show and the trio signed a deal, reportedly worth millions, to front a motoring show for Amazon Prime customers. The as-yet-untitled programme is scheduled to start airing on Amazon Prime next year.

Evans has signed a three-year deal to lead a new line-up of presenters on Top Gear. Other celebrities linked to the role include Zoe Ball, former X Factor host Dermot O'Leary, motorbike racer Guy Martin and Life On Mars actor Philip Glenister.

But Evans denied Ball's involvement, tweeting: "Hilariously inaccurate story in 2days paper. Re my good friend Zoe Ball excelling in Top Gear screen test. She hasn't even been for one."

He has also said the rumours about O'Leary and Glenister are false.

Jodie Kidd has ruled herself out of the running, saying: "If I were to accept Top Gear it would be completely all-consuming. Top Gear is the most brilliant show on this planet but it would just take over your soul."

The new Top Gear is expected to be broadcast in autumn next year.

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