The 2009 champion's Monaco Grand Prix could be about to take a massive hit as the possibility of a grid penalty looms over his one-off F1 return.
With Fernando Alonso losing yet another Honda engine in FP1 in Barcelona he’s now already used all four of some of the elements of his power unit, and using any more could mean he get slapped with a grid penalty at the next race.
But Fernando won’t be at the next race, and in the F1 equivalent of dropping a fart and leaving the room that means it’ll be Jenson Button taking the grid drop instead. That’s because F1 rules mean that the allocation of PU components are tied to the car and not the driver, so if any extras are used between now and Monaco it’ll be Button taking the hit on the track where overtaking is the hardest. I bet Fernando is sooooooo disappointed to be missing the race.
Of course there might not be a grid drop - all that has to happen is for Fernando’s car to not break during the Spanish Grand Prix and for it to not break when Button is at the wheel at Monaco…
So, about that certain grid penalty for Button. It’s going to make a huge difference to his weekend, demoting him to last on the grid from a stunning qualifying position of…well, last probably. After all, he’s yet to drive the car and faces a huge uphill battle to get to grips with everything. Even for a World Champion, having to do all that at Monaco is a tough ask.
I reckon Mark Webber had it spot on when he said he doesn’t think Button cares about coming back. Why would he? It seemed like he’d stopped caring halfway through last season and he’s been enjoying his retirement. What is there to get excited about in terms of coming back to drive an underpowered and unreliable car, having had no testing, and probably from the back of the grid?
Of course the one glimmer of hope is that Monaco should be the best track for the MCL32 and there might be a chance of a few points, but I’m pretty sure JB isn’t losing sleep over the sheer excitement of potentially finishing ninth.
That’s assuming the car even reaches the end of the race anyway. It might not be a bad idea for Jenson to do what Mansell did for the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix and book a flight home that leaves before the race is over. Mansell ended up winning that race, so if Button does the same thing that means he’s guaranteed to win as well. Right?