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McLaren: Button took ‘no convincing whatsoever’ to make Monaco return

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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.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”