McLaren executive director Zak Brown says that Jenson Button took “no convincing whatsoever” when offered the chance to return to Formula 1 for the Monaco Grand Prix next month.
McLaren announced on Wednesday that Fernando Alonso would be entering the 101st Indianapolis 500 as part of a joint entry involving Honda and Andretti Autosport, ruling him out of the Monaco F1 weekend.
The team had planned to make an announcement regarding Alonso’s replacement by the end of the month, but fast-tracked confirmation that Button – who seemingly retired from F1 at the end of last year – would be returning in Monaco.
Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Brown was happy to welcome Button back to a McLaren race seat, saying the 2009 world champion took no persuading at all.
“He was the obvious first choice but we had to make sure he was up for it, since he’s now relocated to the States, and he was very up for it as soon as we contacted him,” Brown said.
“I think it’s great for our team to replace one world champion with another for Monaco. Jenson has won a round there, loves the circuit, and didn’t take any convincing whatsoever when we contacted him.
“So good for us and good for the sport.”
Button’s return ensures his presence in F1 will extend to 18 consecutive seasons, the Briton having made his debut back in 2000 with Williams.
Button raced with McLaren between 2010 and 2016 before stepping back into an ambassador and reserve driver role, signing a two-year deal that runs to the end of 2018.