McLaren has confirmed that Jenson Button will return from retirement to replace Indy 500-bound Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix this year.
Following Alonso’s surprise announcement to race at the Indy 500, McLaren had been looking for a suitable replacement for the Spanish double world champion.
Button was the most logical choice for McLaren, as none of the drivers from the Woking-based team’s junior roster possess a superlicense.
The 2009 world champion will partner incumbent Stoffel Vandoorne, who made his full-time F1 debut this year in Australia.
“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.
“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.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier added: “I was truly delighted when Jenson accepted our suggestion that he race at Monaco instead of Fernando, and I know I speak on behalf of everyone at McLaren-Honda, and all our sponsor-partners and fans too, when I say that it’s great news for Jenson, for McLaren, for Honda, for our sponsor-partners, for Monaco, and for the sport of Formula 1.”
Button retired from F1 last year but continues to remain on McLaren’s books as a reserve driver. The English team has an option on Button for the 2018 F1 season.
by Rachit Thukral