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Grosjean doubts Button will struggle on F1 return in Monaco

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Romain Grosjean doubts Jenson Button will have any trouble getting to back up to speed upon his Formula 1 return in Monaco next weekend with McLaren.

Button decided to stop racing full-time in F1 at the end of last year, but was drafted in by McLaren to replace Fernando Alonso in Monaco while the Spaniard takes part in the Indianapolis 500.

Button opted against testing the 2017-spec McLaren-Honda MCL32 in Bahrain last month, meaning his first taste of the car will come during first practice on Thursday in Monaco.

Given the significant changes between the F1 cars in 2016 and 2017, Button may face a steep learning curve, but Grosjean doubts the 2009 world champion will have too many issues getting up to speed.

“First thing he has to do is get used to the width of the car, especially in Monaco,” Grosjean said.

“Jenson is a great champion. He’s been world champion and he knows what he’s doing. He’s going to be on it pretty quickly.

“If we can take advantage of the fact that he’s not got much experience in the car at the beginning, we’ll use that for our own performance, but I’m sure he’s going to be good straight away.”

Speaking about Alonso’s decision to skip Monaco for the ‘500, Grosjean said: ““t’s pretty amazing and he’s doing well in the testing. It’s a really good race.

“It’s a nice one, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch. I’ll have a look at the highlights.”

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.