McLaren-Honda prepping for Button's 'farewell race'

© XPB 

There won't be much at stake for McLaren next weekend in Abu Dhabi, but the last race of 2016 will nevertheless provide the Woking-based outfit with a  memorable milestone.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates will offer its lavish backdrop to Jenson Button ultimate Grand Prix before the 2009 world champion heads to semi-retirement.

The event will no doubt be highly charged in emotion as the Formula 1 paddock bids farewell  to one of its most loved and successful members.

"This weekend marks a very significant moment for McLaren-Honda, as we bid farewell to Jenson, who will be stepping out of the cockpit after the race on Sunday to embark on a new chapter both with McLaren-Honda and in his personal life," said team boss Eric Boullier.

"As we know, it’s farewell for now and not goodbye, and we’ll be working side by side with him over the coming year, when he’ll be as close to the team and our developments as ever.

"Nevertheless, it’s a poignant step in our history together and an opportunity to celebrate his 17 seasons in the sport, seven with McLaren, and celebrate his many achievements on track.

"We’ll certainly miss him in the garage, but we look forward to continuing our relationship and the exciting projects we’ll be working on together in 2017."

Boullier insisted however that there would still be  motor race to be run on Sunday, and while the Frenchman expected a challenging weekend out on the difficult Yas Marina race track, he remains optimistic of a positive outcome.

"We approach this weekend with positivity, but the awareness that it will be a challenging grand prix on a track that is complex in character and offers a set of unique parameters within which to set up the car.

"With qualifying and the race taking place in very different conditions from the earlier part of the weekend, setting up the car for all eventualities is tricky but is also what makes this venue so unique, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle for fans at the end of a long season.

"The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for McLaren-Honda, cements a very positive year, where we have overcome challenges, fought hard, pushed relentlessly and seen firm progression in every area.

"As I always say, we aren’t where we want to be, of course, but we’re fighting fit and looking ahead to a strong winter of further development.

"I hope we can finish the season on a high – for Jenson, the team and our fans across the world."

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