Button: Monaco Grand Prix return feels “surreal”

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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Jenson Button says it feels “surreal” to be returning to Formula One six months after his last race.

Button stepped down from driving at the end of last season but will return to McLaren’s race squad this weekend in place of Fernando Alonso,who is racing at Indianapolis.

“It feels slightly surreal to be back in the cockpit,” Button admitted

He insisted “there was no hesitation” when racing director Eric Boullier asked him about returning. “It’s a totally unique situation and a great opportunity.”

“I’m looking forward to stepping back behind the wheel for one of the most crazy, unpredictable and exciting races of the year.”

Button has not driven McLaren’s MCL32 but has familiarised himself with the car in the team’s simulator.

“Although I haven’t turned a wheel on track yet in the MCL32, I feel well prepared,” he said. “I know the track well, of course, and I’ve done quite a bit of work in the McLaren simulator already.”

“I’m still fit, and I’ve been training probably more than ever, because I’ve had the time to focus on my triathlon preparation and competitions. I’m looking forward to working with the team again, and, as I’ll be on the other side of the garage this time around, I’ll do my best to look after the car for Fernando.”

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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    17 comments on “Button: Monaco Grand Prix return feels “surreal””

    1. Hope it rains on Sunday, give him a chance in low grip

      1. Good point. Good points maybe up for grabs. :)

      2. Current outlook is pretty dry, though.

    2. I’m sort of wondering why they didn’t give him a practice session last week in Spain. The simulator is no doubt amazingly but you can’t simulate G-forces completely accurately

      1. Would have been quite unfortunate to get an FP1 outing in Alonso’s car in Barcelona and only drive three corners :)

      2. @strontium
        Yeah the same thought just struck me. He might be fit, but I don’t think triathlon requires much in the way of neck muscles. Not that Monaco has particularly high G-forces I suppose, but there are pretty constant corners.

        1. With 17 years in F1, and 1 month to prepare… and resume that says “fit”… :D should not be a problem….

      3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        22nd May 2017, 19:01

        I read that they needed to complete a simulator-calibration programme with DeVries that was critical for development. Seemed like a fairly mundane reason on the face of it

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          22nd May 2017, 19:44

          Sorry thought you meant the test

        2. It’s surprisingly difficult to calibrate sim software to fail repeatedly reliably and yet randomly as the not-fully understood Honda powertrain.

      4. Practicing in Spain won’t help much for Monaco. The chassis and Power unit setups for Monaco are vastly different than the Spain ones.

    3. This was such a missed PR opportunity. They should have put a decent young American driver in there and see what happens. Really what does Macca have to lose?

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        22nd May 2017, 21:13

        I don’t see why they shouldn’t have button at all. Hw is the reserve driver as well as being contracted to the team until the end of 2018. I still have a feeling he may return next year if Alonso moves team of quits F1. Remember Button did say he may return this year. Possibly knowing that if Honda turned out to be like it was again, Alonso may not want to continue with them. Button certainly didn’t seem to complain as much about the issues anyway. Lets hope he gets the chance to have a good drive in Monaco.

      2. Their best chance at points this year, that’s what they have to lose.

      3. Which young American with a Super licence would you suggest?
        The only one I can see is Rossi, and he’s a bit busy this weekend.
        Others could possibly be Graham Rahal, Zack Veach, Spencer Pigot (busy), Ryan Hunter-Reay (busy). Can’t think of anyone else.

    4. I like his story about crashing and rolling the car in the simulator :)

    5. Hammy Hebert
      24th May 2017, 8:00

      Two laps in and he’ll be whingeing about grip and the rear of the car. One of the most overrated drivers ever.

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