He's back: McLaren confirm Jenson Button will race at Monaco
Jenson Button will be racing for McLaren-Honda at this season's Monaco Grand Prix, the team have confirmed.
Button effectively retired from Formula 1 at the end of last season after 17 years in the sport.
But he was retained by McLaren as a reserve driver and he will now return to the cockpit to cover for regular driver Fernando Alonso who will miss the race to compete in the Indy 500.
Button, who won at Monaco in his championship season in 2009, says he is targeting a points finish in the Principality.
'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,' he 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.'
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said: 'Jenson is a class act. He’s a superb driver – fast, smooth and precise – and he won’t have lost any of his competitive edge over the past few months.
'After all, he’s missed only a handful of Grands Prix since his last outing in Abu Dhabi in late November last year, and he’s as fit as a fiddle.
'Also, he’s always been good at Monaco. He’ll do a great job for us, I’m sure of that.'