By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
McLaren F1 have confirmed that Jenson Button will replace Indianapolis 500-bound Fernando Alonso for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 28.
It was announced on Wednesday that Alonso would be competing for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in a McLaren-branded Honda entry with Andretti Autosport.
The unique situation brings the 37-year-old Brit back after a stepping out of the cockpit at the end of last season.
Having spent time since as an ambassador for McLaren and as a reserve driver, Button declared his excitement to return for the one-off event at Monaco.
“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,” said Button via a team release.
“I’ve won the race before, in 2009, and it’s one of my all-time favorite 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 and Stoffel [Vandoorne] have raced it on so far this season.
“OK, I realize 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.”