Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2016

Button confirmed as Alonso’s replacement for Monaco

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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Jenson Button will return to Formula One as Fernando Alonso’s replacement for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 2009 world champion will make his first start since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in place of Alonso, who has decided to race in the Indianapolis 500 instead.

Button said he is “thrilled” to be returning:

“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.”

“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,” he added.

“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.”

Racing director Eric Boullier said Button “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.”

“Fernando will be back at the wheel of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 in Montreal, and I hope he’ll have some great stories to bring back to us from Indianapolis. You couldn’t get two more different racetracks than Monaco and Indy – one of them a twisty and bumpy street course and the other a mega-high-speed banked super-speedway bowl – but that’s the beauty of our sport.”

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 73 comments on “Button confirmed as Alonso’s replacement for Monaco”

    1. I was hoping for Häkkinen since he just recently came back to McLaren as an ambassador

      1. Sadly he just won’t be able to squeeze in there :’D maybe with some lube….

        1. Dear god… :O :D

        2. A shoe horn and a large tub of butter 😀

          1. knoxploration
            14th April 2017, 23:29

            AKA the “Nigel Mansell”.

    2. Get in there, Jenson!

    3. Excellent news! And as Button is understood to give a good feedback it will be good for McLaren that he can correlate simulator and on-track feeling.

      1. He at least will notice the difference.. the simulator just works.. the on-track feeling is a lot of disappointment ( no simulator can simulate that)

      2. I seriously doubt that Button will be spending much time in the simulator nowadays, if any. Although yes, I suppose he might now do some to prep for Monaco.

        Also I bet that when it comes to Monaco, it is the least useful for simulator to real life comparison, as Monaco is so unlike the vast majority of tracks on the calendar.

        However, I do agree with the general sentiment that it’ll be good to see Button back for that one race, and he’ll be able to give good feedback on this year’s car.

        1. Gavin Campbell
          14th April 2017, 12:55

          So McLaren paid a world champion who has a reputation for setting up cars and has an exceptional feel for them (a strength and a weakness in Jensons case!) for 2 years to go do Triathalons and show up occasionally to pretend to drink some whiskey/champagne/coffee at sponsors events??

          I would be surprised if he is not getting in the sim and giving some feedback. Not on a regular basis, not doing the grunt work but I would expect him to do an afternoon every couple of weeks to help the team.

          1. And say what? Car understeers on corner entry snaps on apex, oversteers on exit plows on power and lacks said power down the straight…

            Not much to do there.

    4. Well, if nothing else, it will give Martin Brundle someone to talk to on his grid walk.

    5. Evil Homer (@)
      14th April 2017, 10:36

      That’s good news. I know many may have liked a young driver but JB is so experienced and as the third driver they would always take that option. Hope Jenson has a real solid weekend in Monaco 🏁

      1. @evilhomer It would be killing to debut a rookie halfway a season, especially in Monaco where experience counts double. It’s easy math when you have a really fit former World Champion willing to step in.

    6. Great! Now he has to start working on his neck, with his physiotherapist now working with stoffel

      1. G-forces on the neck aren’t that high around Monaco and Jenson is already fitter than a lot of the other drivers. He’ll be fine.

    7. Wonder how much simulator time button has done with the 2017 cars – BIG step up as it is, but at Monaco it’s very unforgiving…

      1. McLaren have Turvey in the car for next weeks test at Bahrain… I think Button could do with a few ‘live’ laps in the car before Monaco FP1, no? After that he needs simulator work and neck training.

        1. Crazy he’s not taking the chance to drive the car before Monaco.

    8. Really hoping it rains at Monaco.

      1. Let’s hope the McL is waterproof then, they probably forgot that too.

    9. nice.

    10. Racing director Eric Boullier said Button “won’t have lost any of his competitive edge over the past few months.”
      True, Button lost his competitive edge almost a decade ago. What a boring choice.
      I prefer seeing Button taking over Ted’s place at Sky.

      1. Evil Homer (@)
        14th April 2017, 13:16

        @murph
        If you dont like JB who is your preferred option for the drive mate?

        McLaren need a bit of stability at the moment.

        1. Juan Pablo Montoya :)

          But since this is unlikely to happen I rather see Nasr, Pastor, Vergne, Rossi, Frijns, Kunimoto or Sato
          And McLaren doesn’t need stability at the moment, they needed better management in the past decade and the return of Button won’t solve any of their issues.

          1. well montoya lost his competitive edge a lot longer ago than button, not to mention his waistline

          2. @Murph You are a joke. You clearly hate Jenson Button for some reason, and you do not wish to say why. In fact I think you are trolling with those driver names.

            1. @the-last-pope
              You, my good sir, clearly have some issues.
              Like I said to you in another tread where you accused me of hating him: I don’t know Button, so I fail to understand why I would hate him. In fact, I wish him all the best in his life.

              But when to comes to F1, Button to me, is one of the greatest “let downs” in the 43 years I’ve been following this sport ( so much potential, so few memorable races) and therefor I prefer not seeing him back in a F1 car.

              And those names “trolling”? Each his own, you fancy JB, I fancy other drivers.

          3. Evil Homer (@)
            14th April 2017, 14:34

            @murph
            Haha bring on Juan then 👍
            Of your picks JEV would be the better one but he has been out of F1 for over 2 years now. Button for a drive is easy and can give feedback on how the simulator correlates with the Track.

            I think they do need some stability as the last years of management take some time to change- its a big culture shock post-Ron. Throw JB a drive, Alonso may decide he wants to stay out of F1 and Stoffel still green so will see.

            I do hope they are at the front again very soon.

            1. I hope that to. :)

          4. knoxploration
            14th April 2017, 23:39

            You say the WDC-winning Jenson Button lost his competitive edge a decade ago, and then suggest the never-came-close-to-a-WDC Juan Pablo Montoya, a man who was beaten in the WDC by his own teammate for 50% of his F1 career, beaten in the WDC by the much-maligned Kimi Raikkonen twice, and whose biggest claim to fame was that he did a little bit better than Ralf “Me Too” Schumacher and his menagerie of injury replacements? Alllllrighty then.

        2. According to the McLaren-Honda website they have three “Reserve, Test and Development” Drivers: Oliver Turvey, Nobuharu Matsushita, and Nyck de Vries. I think one of these drivers should be given the opportunity to drive at Monaco, they are paid to be ready to race so when the opportunity arises they should get first choice.

    11. Dislike.
      First Massa, now Button.
      Not a good sign for F1 when retired drivers return instead of young and hungry talents who could prove themselves.

      1. He wasn’t actually retired, this is different to Massa. He is contracted as reserve driver, but of course it was likely that Abu Dhabi was his last GP so he had to really do a little celebration.

        Besides, who wants to end their career with suspension failure at Abu Dhabi? End it at Monte Carlo instead. Pleased for him.

        1. Yes, it’s good to see him back, he’s got more charisma than five or six rows of the 2017 grid.
          Chances are he’ll get to repeat his run back to the finish (from the 2009 win) too…when his car breaks down.

        2. Besides, who wants to end their career with suspension failure at Abu Dhabi? End it at Monte Carlo instead

          @john-h nicely put, I’m very happy about it! Hopefully he might see the finish line

        3. Yes, it’s much better to end your career with a engine failure in Monaco.

          1. knoxploration
            14th April 2017, 23:39

            *snort*

      2. While I agree that giving a chance to new driver would be better for f1 there is another thing to thing to consider. It is monaco. Not the track where you want new driver getting his first taste of f1. Every mistake in monaco usually means that the car ends in the wall. And most of the time driving in monaco you are inches away from the walls a lot of the time. It is too unforgiving to have a new driver do a one off race in f1 in monaco out of all places.

        I think button for monaco is good choice. But if it was race like china, bahrain, spa, silverstone then I’d hope they’d put someone else in the car.

      3. Are you kidding? What happened to Ocon, Verstappen, Stroll, Wehrlein, Giovinazzi? LOL

      4. They want tbe car back in one piece and maybe points as tbey mean money ! A rookie…no points and a smashed car ??

      5. @drycrust unlike button… who is also paid to be a backup driver?

        Seems to me this was foreseen last year… and mclaren acted accordingly by keeping button under contract… but you fans just know sooo much better than mclaren… maybe you should start your own team so you can make those bad ideas a reality!

        1. Is using the people you employ to do a job a bad idea? McLaren-Honda say they have 3 reserve drivers, and they are supposed to be racing fit and capable of stepping into the car at any time.
          This is what the McLaren-Honda website says regarding Jenson Button:

          In his new role, he’ll work in the MTC simulator, talk with drivers and engineers, and attend a handful of grands prix in order to remain calibrated and wired-in to the team.

    12. November 2016: Two drivers emotionally announce retirement from Formula One.
      May 2017: Both are back on the grid. Defending World Champion is not.

      1. Well, he’s not defending then, is he… :P

        1. Rosberg declared his retirement in December, so @ben-n is right. He’s saying it’s funny that two guys who had basically said they’d had enough and didn’t have enough passion anymore walked away, but the one who came back WASN’T the defending world champion. And Phil Massa is back too.

            1. Totally :-D

        2. Nope, he just IS the world champion ;)

    13. This is one race Mclaren is likely to score points assuming Alonso is driving. Qualify as high up as you can. Once you are within the points drive as slow as you possibly can for reliability.
      Button has the experience, but has he enough time in the car for him to get the best out of it.

      1. A new engine should be ready by Monaco, right? Here’s to hoping the vibrations are attenuated and the engine can finally go full blast…whatever actual power that engine can produce.

    14. Now it’s only a mather of time we will see back, Rosberg, Nigel Mansel, and maybe Alain prost :)

      1. Which Rosberg are you talking about and don’t forget Hakkinen. It’s only a sabbatical.

        1. Has to be Keke. Emerson Fittipaldi looked pretty good at the Geneva motor show, showing off his new EF7 supercar.

          1. Ferrari, Seb fan
            14th April 2017, 15:59

            Breaking news:Bottas has decided to leave Mercedes. Toto wolf says “we need a driver that can win world titles and can work well with the team. For this reason we have chosen Nike Lauda”. :)

            1. Ferrari, Seb fan
              14th April 2017, 18:05

              *Niki

    15. Company man Jenson

    16. I think the point here is that JB would have been brought up in the conversation when the key people involved in this one-off race for FA started discussing it. JB’s presence on the team would have been one of the factors that contributed to this all being able to happen.

    17. A very logical choice. It’d be very hard for anyone making their debut with these cars and at a place like Monaco. People commenting how boring a choice this is, tell me, who else would be up to the task of racing around Monaco this year? I can’t think of anyone…

      1. @fer-no65 It not logical just because all other options are almost as bad as this one.

        1. JB is still part of the team and will be the perfect sub for FA for Monaco. I believe it is his presence that has been one of the key ingredients that has allowed this to happen for FA and Mac and Honda and Indy.

        2. @rethla what you say validates my argument. There’s no other option, so it’s only logical that Jenson gets the drive. Also Jenson is part of McLaren, he’s the reserve driver, he’s good at Monaco and he has vast F1 experience.

          No one else has any of that. So I ask again, who else would be up to the task? you can’t think of a single name? then it’s even more logical to chose Jenson.

        3. I would have thought the FIRST AND ONLY driver in history to ever score more points than Alonso over a season would have been the perfect choice to replace him.

    18. This is a cool story in so many ways. A race which I rarely watch will be on my tv cheering on Fernando and of course the Monaco GP will be boring but amazing in its own way. That will be a fun racing weekend.

    19. Evil Homer (@)
      14th April 2017, 14:48

      @rethla
      Your comment doesn’t make sense mate as if all other options are just as bad would you not bet on the guy that has raced so many years with that team?

      So many are so anti old school guys like JB or Massa still going and want young guns. Max changed all this, not long ago he was too young now everyone wants these young guys. Max is one in a million and Ocon will be just as good i think, but if I were paying the (damage) bills I may prefer to see an old JB over a young Stroll in my car. (Not dissing Stroll, i really hope he comes good!) Just saying it a better roll.

    20. Evil Homer (@)
      14th April 2017, 14:51

      *its*

    21. I do wonder if Jenson actually wants to drive this race or if he’s contractually bound to. I mean as a world champion and Monaco winner what has this race got to offer him?

      I think the only upside is we will see Button driving in nothing to lose mode because frankly who cares if he sticks it in the barriers or tangles with one of the other midfield drivers being clumsy?

      1. Maclaren will care, they need every single point that they can muster. Iĺl care because it will most likely red or black flag the race.

        I imagine button will also care, hitting the wall at 120mph is not likely to be on his bucket list.

        He probably will enjoy doing a one of race with no WDC concerns and it should show in his driving as he relishes every second of it.

    22. For how much longer is Button contracted to McLaren?

      Would be pretty funny if Bottas gets replaced by him at the end of the year in the Merc seat.

    23. I would have picked someone suitable who is hungrier for the job rather than drag in a man who chose to retire, someone like Felipe Nasr for example. But it is what it is.

    24. What if he gets podium.. weirder things have happened in F1 before.

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