McLaren F1 team rejects critics of Jenson Button's Monaco return

McLaren has rejected suggestions Jenson Button is not fully committed to his one-off Formula 1 return as Fernando Alonso's Monaco Grand Prix stand-in

McLaren F1 team rejects critics of Jenson Button's Monaco return

Officially a McLaren reserve this year having stepped out of his race seat following the 2016 season, Button was swiftly announced as Alonso's Monte Carlo substitute after the Spaniard's Indianapolis 500 plan was revealed.

But 2009 world champion Button turned down the chance to test the '17 McLaren-Honda in Bahrain last month and has concentrated on running Monaco in the simulator instead.

His friend Mark Webber recently suggested Button was 'not very interested' in the race.

But McLaren Technology Group chief operating officer Jonathan Neale denied Button's return was half-hearted.

DAMIEN SMITH: Why Button's F1 return is confusing

"I've read that and I've seen that, but I don't necessarily agree with it," Neale told Autosport.

"Jenson is certainly putting time in behind the scenes to prepare well for it.

"He's done multiple sessions in the simulator, just doing the one track, and also just familiarising himself with the car, the tyres, the power unit, the balance, and the braking performance.

"I think he's got his head in for this race, without a shadow of a doubt."

Neale suggested Webber's comments were "banter".

"He's good mates with Webber, and I don't dispute that there's a lot of banter going on on the background," said Neale.

"I think it's good-natured banter, and I think we'll see him focused."

Button won in Monaco during his championship season with Brawn GP in 2009.

"Monaco is perhaps one of those circuits where the driver contribution matters proportionately more than on other circuits," Neale added.

"He knows it well, he's been very successful there, and he's a good racer.

"It's Monaco, anything could happen, but you nudge the odds in your favour by being well-prepared and putting world champions in the car."

Neale acknowledged that Button, who has focused largely on triathlons in recent months, has plenty of other interests to occupy him this season.

"Jenson is a competitive guy, whether it's running, cycling, swimming, motor racing, he wants to be competitive," he said.

"He's worked incredibly hard, and the drivers sacrifice a lot through their young years, so why would be not be enjoying some of the things he wants to do on his agenda?

"So I completely get that. There are worse things to do than hang out in California!

"But at the end of the day he's still a racer at heart, and it will be nice to have him back."

shares
comments
Renault Formula 1 team committed to helping Jolyon Palmer improve
Previous article

Renault Formula 1 team committed to helping Jolyon Palmer improve

Next article

Ross Brawn appoints ex-team engineers to work on Formula 1 rules

Ross Brawn appoints ex-team engineers to work on Formula 1 rules
The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline Plus

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

In the hands of Ayrton Senna the actively suspended 99T would be the last F1 race-winning Lotus but, as STUART CODLING reveals, it was a complicated machine that caused more problems than it solved

Formula 1
Feb 5, 2023
How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 Plus

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Formula 1’s transformation into a global sport meant the gradual extinction for a small team determined to stay true to its low-budget roots. But Tyrrell would eventually be reborn as a world-beating outfit again, explains MAURICE HAMILTON, albeit in different colours…

Formula 1
Feb 4, 2023
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023