Jenson Button will race in Fernando Alonso’s stead at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The former Formula One champion, 37, retired at the end of last season but apparently it took just a two minute phone call to persuade him to race in place of the 35-year-old Spaniard – who is unavailable as he’s travelling to the US to take part in the Indianapolis 500 this weekend.
“It started a week ago with a couple of texts,” said Eric Boullier, McLaren’s racing director. “The phone call was maybe two minutes. It was a very short discussion and very easy. His first reaction was ‘great, I am so excited’.
“Jenson was our choice from day one. He has been racing all his life, and I guess anyone who would stop doing it would miss it, so I am not surprised he said yes.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 14, 2017
After Alonso announced he was taking up the 500 mile challenge in Indianapolis next month Button seemed to tease his followers that he might be getting the call up…
Why do I have so many missed calls? 🤔
— Jenson Button (@JensonButton) April 12, 2017
Button is an ambassador for McLaren and is still paid something in the region of £5 million a year by the racing team, so in reality he may have had little choice in the matter.
That being said, we reckon Button’s appointment as Alonso’s deputy has gone down pretty well with the fans.
— ThePitCrewOnline © (@PitCrew_Online) April 12, 2017
— Hope (@HopelessF1) April 12, 2017
That’s including one fan who realised it could mean the return of a truly excellent Formula One quirk.
— Mattzel89 (@Mattzel89) April 14, 2017
Just in case you’re not sure what that means – it’s all to do with the placings of Button, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez.
Let's all have a minute's silence for #BUTGROPER
— Dan Barua (@danbarua) November 27, 2016
If you can’t laugh at that then you’re reading the wrong article – welcome back Jenson!