Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

F1: Jenson Button replaces Fernando Alonso at Monaco GP

F1: Jenson Button replaces Fernando Alonso at Monaco GP

"Owing to Fernando Alonso's commitments with McLaren- Honda-Andretti over the weekend of the Indianapolis 500, which iconic race will take place on the same date (May 28th) as the Monaco Grand Prix, Jenson will take over Fernando's McLaren- Honda MCL32 for one race only: the equally iconic Monaco Grand Prix", said a team statement. "His auto is going to run with some guy everybody will be pretty familiar with".

McLaren won the Indianapolis 500 with their own vehicle in 1974 and 1976, but IndyCar is now a "spec" formula where all teams use the same basic auto, although different engine manufacturers are allowed to design their own aerodynamic bodykits.

"In the bigger picture it is more rewarding for McLaren Honda. We've agreed to talk about the future in the summer and that's not changed", Brown added. "It'll be a great experience for him". "It will be hard if we can't".

"After Russia, I will try to be in Indianapolis for a couple of simulator days, hopefully test the auto but it's not 100 per cent sure, and after that I will go to the Spanish Grand Prix and then fly to America on Sunday after the race".

For Hamilton, his task will be on cementing his championship charge against Sebastian Vettel after beating the Ferrari driver to victory in China last week.

McLaren did not say who will take the Spaniard's place for the Monaco race, one of the highlights of the grand prix calendar.

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"On the planes, I will try and look at some videos and races from past years and try to learn as quick as I can".

"I think if a driver commits to a team it's like disappearing with another girlfriend half way through the year, it doesn't seem like the right thing to do", he said.

Button's farewell race at last season's Abu Dhabi GP ended badly when he had to retire with a suspension problem. The team announced Button's one-off return on Friday - which would have been in time for him to drive the auto at Bahrain's post-race test - but McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said the team decided with Button to limit his preparation to simulator work. McLaren hasn't made it official yet, but Button would make sense.

Still, while this is being done in the service of chasing that Triple Crown, it'll be extremely tough for Alonso to win the Indy 500 during his first time racing in the event. "So I think he needs to see a psychiatrist, personally". I think he's going to put on a good show and he's very smart.

"The entire INDYCAR community - competitors, fans, media, everyone - is delighted and excited at the prospect of a driver as brilliant as Fernando making his debut in our series", said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Verizon IndyCar Series. He retired from F1 in 2016, but won the 2009 World Championship, and has won 15 races overall.

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