McLaren has announced Jenson Button’s returning to Formula 1 to be Fernando Alonso’s Monaco Grand Prix replacement.
Button will be back in F1 for Monaco to take over Alonso’s McLaren MCL32 while the Spaniard is off racing the Indianapolis 500.
For some time, the equally prestigious Monaco and Indianapolis events have clashed, meaning no drivers can compete in both.
Well, Alonso decided to ditch F1 for IndyCar for that 28 May weekend, with McLaren and Honda entering a car with the Andretti team.
Since it was confirmed, there’s been a buzz of speculation over who could replace him for Monaco, although Button seemed like the clear favourite.
Now Button’s been confirmed as Alonso’s super-sub for the Monaco GP, coming back for a one-off race to partner Stoffel Vandoorne, having left F1 at the end of 2016.
The 2009 F1 champion said:
“I’m thrilled to be making a one-off return to F1, and I couldn’t think of a better place to make that return than my adopted home Grand Prix: Monaco. I’ve won the race before, in 2009, and it’s one of my all-time favourite racetracks.
“It’s a tricky street circuit on which a good driver can really make a difference – and, although the McLaren-Honda MCL32 hasn’t begun the season well, I think it may be more suited to Monaco than to the faster circuits that Fernando [Alonso] and Stoffel [Vandoorne] have raced it on so far this season.”
“As for Fernando, I hope he not only fares well at Indy but enjoys it too. It’ll be a great experience for him. He’s an excellent driver, as we all know, and he’s very experienced, so, although super-speedway driving techniques will be all-new to him, I expect him to get to grips with it all pretty quickly.
“And on Sunday evening, after the Monaco Grand Prix, I’ll sit down and watch him do his stuff on TV. I’m looking forward to that too. I’ll drive the MCL32 around Monaco in the McLaren sim beforehand, and I reckon I’ll be ready for the race after doing that.”
Alonso will return to his McLaren F1 seat for the next race in Canada, with Monaco the only race he’ll be missing this year.