Sunday 23 October 2016

Jenson Button follows Jodie Kidd to bow out of Top Gear race

Jodie Kidd
Jodie Kidd

Jenson Button is the latest star to rule himself out of being a presenter on Top Gear, after renewing his contract with McLaren Honda for the 2016 Formula One season.

The English racer (35), had been tipped to co-present the new-look BBC motoring show alongside Chris Evans.

Button (inset) - who married model Jessica Michibata in December last year - appeared twice on Top Gear before Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left. He took 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".

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

Hammond and May left the show and the trio signed a deal for Amazon Prime. 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 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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