McLaren have announced that Jenson Button will replace Fernando Alonso for the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May.
The 2009 World Champion is being drafted back in for one race to cover the Spainard who is taking part in the Indy 500 this year. Button took a sabbatical this season as McLaren brought in Stoffel Vandoorne to partner Alonso for the 2017 season. The Brit signed a new two year deal with the Woking side at the end of last year that seen him work a more ambassador role but retained as reserve driver.
“Jenson will be in the simulator, he will attend some races and he is contracted to race if needed,” said then-team boss Ron Dennis.
The contract includes the option of a full-time race return in 2018 should McLaren decide to bring him back in, most likely in the event that Alonso is not retained.
The Monaco race will be Button’s 306th Grand Prix start, tying for second on the all time list with Michael Schumacher. Button is also a past Monaco GP winner having won the event in 2009 while driving for Brawn GP. At this point Button has not driven the new 2017 car in anger but will have done simulator work and is expected now to take part in the upcoming Bahrain two day test that happens after this weekends Bahrain Grand Prix.
Fitness is not expected to be a problem for the super fit Briton who has kept himself busy doing triathlons. This included one recently in California where he won his age group but was disqualified afterwards for cycling too fast in a reduced speed zone.
Monaco is expected to be McLaren’s best chance of points this season and Button has scored points in his last four races around the principality.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports