Button will take over Alonso’s McLaren-Honda MCL32 for one race only. After the Monaco race, Alonso will return to Formula 1 duties from the Canadian GP onwards, and will thereafter complete the Formula 1 season for McLaren-Honda as planned. “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 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 [Alonso] and Stoffel [Vandoorne] have raced it on so far this season,” Button commented.
“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. 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,” he added.
McLaren called Button to drive a one-off race due to the fact that the veteran F1 driver is a class act and an experienced driver. Button’s credentials will truly assist Vandoorne to learn the ropes at the tight and twisty course of the Principality.
Button had been replaced by the McLaren rookie, after his final outing at the 2016 Abu Dhabi GP, and McLaren is confident that the Briton still has that competitive edge to challenge for a possible mid-rank position. Obviously, Button is very familiar with the course at the Monaco GP.