Formula One McLaren driver Jenson Button tipped for role on revised Top Gear
Formula One playboy Jenson Button may have brushed off talk of retirement, but he could be about to accelerate into a new career.
The 35-year-old driver is reportedly in talks with the BBC about co-presenting Top Gear with Chris Evans, who’s also known for a hard-partying past.
‘An announcement is imminent,’ claims one source.
Button, who married model Jessica Michibata last December, is friendly with Evans and twice appeared on Top Gear before Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left.
Neither Button’s spokesman nor the BBC deny that talks are taking place but both refuse to comment on ‘speculation’.
As Button has said, ‘In any sport, the trick is to retire at the right time.’
BBC DJ and car enthusiast Chris Evans is hosting the revamped version of Top Gear.
It comes after former host Clarkson was unceremoniously dropped from the motoring show for punching producer Oisin Tymon in an ‘unprovoked physical and verbal’ attack following a filming session in North Yorkshire.
The star was suspended following the 'fracas' at a hotel and became the subject of an internal BBC investigation, before being permanently dropped by the Corporation.
At the time, director-general Tony Hall said 'a line had been crossed' and 'there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another'.
Following Clarkson's departure - which also saw May and Hammond leave the hugely successful motoring show as well as executive producer Andy Wilman - there was much speculation about his replacement.
However, Radio 2 DJ Evans was last month confirmed as the new Top Gear host before the BBC revealed it would be welcoming open video auditions for co-presenters.
As dozens of entries were submitted, from the wacky to the deadly serious, it emerged that former model Jodie Kidd may also be in the running for a coveted co-star position.
Evans remains tight-lipped over who will be joining him next year, insisting that the first step is to assemble the behind-the-scenes talent.
However, BBC director general Tony Hall has admitted that he'd like to see more women on the show with car-mad Kidd - who describes herself as ‘a lunatic, adrenaline junkie child’ - perhaps in the running after she famously scored a record lap time for the show's ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ feature.