McLaren-Honda confirmed that Jenson Button will be racing for the team at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix. The Brit returns to Formula 1 just few months after his retirement from the sport to replace Fernando Alonso, who will be missing the race due to other commitments.
The Spaniard will compete with McLaren-Honda-Andretti over the weekend of the Indianapolis 500, which will take place on the same date (May 28th) as the Monaco Grand Prix. Alonso will return to Formula 1 duties from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, and will thereafter complete the Formula 1 season for McLaren-Honda as planned.
“I’m thrilled to be making a one-off return to Formula 1 racing, and I couldn’t think of a better place to make that return than my adopted home Grand Prix: Monaco", Button said.
“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.
“OK, I realise we won’t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we’ll have a opportunity to score world championship points, which will be very valuable to the team in terms of constructors’ rankings.
“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.
“But most of all I’m looking forward to pitting myself against the unique racing challenge that is the Monaco Grand Prix. 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. I’m supremely fit, having done a lot of triathlon training recently, so I have no worries on that score. And it’ll be nice to say ‘hi’ to all my old Formula 1 mates too, and hopefully to give the fans something to cheer about.”