Former grand prix winner Rubens Barrichello believes Jenson Button ‘may come back stronger’ to Formula One in 2018 should he effectively return to the sport following his sabbatical.

The McLaren-Honda star announced in Monza that he would not race in F1 next year, with Stoffel Vandoorne stepping up to replace him. However, Button will remain an ambassador and reserve driver for his current team, which holds an option over the 2009 world champion for 2018.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Barrichello, who partnered Button at Honda and Brawn from 2006-2009, believes one year away from the daily grind of F1 could be beneficial to his former team-mate.

“I think only he can talk about it,” said the Brazilian, who has entered the most races in F1 history with 322 starts in 326 grand prix appearances.

“I think when you spend a long time in Formula 1, you are very limited in your day-after-day [life], to always do the same things.

“If you want a time to get together with family you have to travel to commitments with sponsors, to travel to the factory, to the simulator, etc.

“Button reaches 300 races soon [in Malaysia] and have no doubt that it is mentally tiring. With a sabbatical year and having the chance to come back, he may come back stronger.”

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