Button to replace Alonso at Monaco GP

Jenson Button

McLaren has confirmed Jenson Button as its replacement for the Indy 500-bound Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix in May.

The 2009 world champion has been recalled to the race seat for the Woking squad for Formula 1’s showpiece event following the news that its regular driver Alonso will contest the time honoured Indy 500 instead, held on the same weekend.

Button announced his retirement from F1 last year but remains contracted to McLaren as a reserve driver and ambassador for the brand.

The 37-year-old is yet to drive the latest specification McLaren MCL32 but is expected to conduct simulator work prepare himself for the one-off drive.

“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.

“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 and Stoffel have raced it on so far this season.

“I realise we won’t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we’ll have an opportunity to score world championship points, which will be very valuable to the team in terms of constructors’ rankings.

“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.”

McLaren has also confirmed that Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Turvey will take part in next week’s Bahrain test.

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