Monaco will be a Bike Ride for Button

BAR's Jenson Button could have been a contender in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco will be a Bike Ride for Button

Instead the Briton, second in the principality last year, is planning to get on his bike and head for the hills to escape the roar of engines as rivals race around the glamorous street circuit.

His Honda-powered team are suspended from the most-watched race on the calendar, after also missing the last Spanish Grand Prix, as a punishment for having an underweight car at Imola last month.

Button, who lives in Monaco, turned up in the paddock on Friday but will be absent on race afternoon.

"None of us are going to be here on Sunday because we don't need to be for the race and Jenson is going to be off training in the mountains," team boss Nick Fry told Reuters.

"That's his plan ... he's going to be off cycling."

Button had intended to watch the race in his apartment with friends and family but changed his mind after visiting the paddock.

"Any driver would be devastated to miss Monaco as it's the race everyone wants to win," he had said earlier. "I'm sure I could have been really strong here this weekend."

Fry said Button, whose 10 podiums last year helped BAR to second place in the Championship, had shown his strength of character since the team was suspended.

"Directly after Barcelona, Jenson, Takuma (Sato) and Anthony (Davidson) and I and Honda spoke to the whole team," he said.

"Jenson, of his own design, flew from Monaco to England for a one-hour talk and then back again. He genuinely sees himself as part of the leadership of the team."

Fighting Return

BAR will make their return at the Nurburgring for next week's European Grand Prix and Fry said the team would come back fighting.

He said the team had received thousands of supportive emails from fans while sponsors and backers had been "frankly outstanding".

"Everyone wants to see us back racing, which is the important thing. The car's going well at the moment and I think we will come back at the Nurburgring with a decent result.

"It's disappointing not to be here, especially this week where we could have done well," he added. "It's a little bit weird being here and not racing.

"I think one of the good things is that the Nurburgring is only a week away so it's not as if we've got to wait another fortnight. We're going to be out racing by next Friday."

Fry said the car would be little changed from earlier in the season, although clearly it would have to be heavier than before.

"We will be carrying more weight, or a little bit more weight than we were, to make sure that we keep on the safe side," he said.

"But what we are obviously doing in parallel is to do as much re-engineering as we can of the system to minimise that problem.

"The fuel system fundamentally stays the same. We are trying to do a better job to minimise the amount of fuel we need in the car to run," he said.

The extra weight will equate to around a tenth of a second a lap.

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