Earlier this year, it was announced Jenson Button would saddle up in Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1974 world championship-winning McLaren M23 at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion on August 17-20.
“We are honored to host Jenson Button at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and showcase a car with such great history,” Gill Campbell, CEO and general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, said at the time. “Formula 1 is the pinnacle of racing advancement and Jenson’s spirited exhibition laps will provide a superb link to motorsport’s past that fans will assuredly enjoy.”
But those plans have now changed, as McLaren announced Tuesday the two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen would do so instead.
No reason was given for the change, but it would appear as though Button has become unavailable or has a conflict that’s arisen.
2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button enjoyed his first extensive testing in a Super GT car at Suzuka this week in preparation for his race debut in August.
After stepping back from a full-time race seat in F1 at the end of last year, Button has a handful of racing activities on his agenda for 2017, having enjoyed a one-off return to grand prix racing with McLaren at Monaco.
Button announced last month that he would be making his Super GT debut with McLaren’s engine partner, Honda, at the final running of the Suzuka 1000km in August with Team Mugen.
As part of his preparation, Button took part in a collective two-day test at Suzuka this week alongside teammates Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima, with the trio finishing the final test running P12 overall.
Recent Formula 1 driver Jenson Button believes the sport should “move on” from Sebastian Vettel’s clash with Lewis Hamilton in Baku and hand the Ferrari driver no further punishment for his sideway swipe.
Vettel drove towards Hamilton under the safety car in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, resulting in a 10-second stop/go penalty during the race for dangerous driving, the harshest available penalty bar exclusion.
The FIA confirmed on Wednesday that it would be re-examining the incident to see if any further action is warranted, with Hamilton telling NBCSN after the race in Baku that it would set a dangerous precedent if more was not done to punish Vettel.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Button – who spent 17 seasons racing full-time in F1 and most recently made a one-off return in Monaco with McLaren – offered his view of the situation, saying that the sport’s bosses should move on and not give Vettel any further punishment.
Since appearing to have made his final Formula 1 start after 17 seasons in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year, Jenson Button has been a busy guy.
After focusing on his triathlon training over the winter and qualifying for the world championships earlier this year (despite a penalty for speeding in one event), Button made a one-off return to F1 with McLaren in Monaco while Fernando Alonso raced in the Indianapolis 500.
Button proved he had lost none of his edge over the winter, immediately being on-the-pace in the McLaren-Honda MCL32 car despite having not driven it prior to the Monaco weekend.
However, his grand prix ended in disappointment when he tangled with Pascal Wehrlein and was forced to retire from the race, as well as picking up a grid penalty that he is unlikely to ever serve.
But JB will be serving something else soon: craft beer.
The 2009 world champion revealed on Instagram on Saturday that he is a founding member of Blue Coast Brewing Company that “will be bringing the craft beer revolution to the south of France”.
Here’s hoping we get to try a Fernando Ale-onso, a Hoppel Vandoorne, or – in a niche throwback to the 2013 race at Spa – a Sebastian Vettel Belgian blond ale someday, surely served from a BAR Honda.
2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button will make his debut in the Japanese Super GT championship in August with the Honda-backed Team Mugen.
Button stepped away from racing in F1 at the end of last year, but made a surprise return in Monaco last weekend while full-time McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso competed at the Indianapolis 500.
Button has stressed time and time again that he is not interested in returning to F1 full-time, but said he would like to try other events including NASCAR and Le Mans.
Button revealed in Monaco that he would be testing a Super GT car this week, and was on Friday confirmed to be part of Team Mugen’s line-up for Suzuka 1000km.
“After driving an NSX Concept GT at the Honda Racing Thanks Day last December, I became interested in racing in Super GT,” Button said.
” I spoke with Honda and they have given me the chance to race at the Suzuka 1000km. As an F1 driver and a member of Team Mugen, I will push to win.”
Button will race alongside Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima at Suzuka for what will be the final running of the 1000km race.
The race will be replaced in 2018 by a timed 10-hour event for FIA GT3 and GT300 machinery, and will no longer be part of the Super GT calendar.
The 2017 Suzuka 1000km takes place on August 27.