McLaren have fallen to last in the F1 team standings, but Jenson Button feels “no pressure”
McLaren
Jenson Button
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 May 2017   |  4:45 pm GMT  |  34 comments

It was very good to see Jenson Button back in the F1 paddock and all set to race in the Monaco Grand Prix. This has been a season for unusual racing stories and the flip side of Fernando Alonso’s fascinating attempt on the Indianapolis 500 is Button’s return to the F1 cockpit this weekend.

Not surprisingly for a man who has completed Ironman events this year and qualified for the Triathlon World Championships in Tennessee later this year, Button looks in fantastic shape, although he mentioned several times that he is worried about his neck, as that is a part of the body only active F1 drivers train.

Jenson Button F1 2017

“Don’t worry about that, mate!” said Nico Hulkenberg after the second or third time Button brought the subject up.

The McLaren was competitive in Fernando Alonso’s hands in Spain in qualifying and this track is McLaren’s best chance of points for the foreseeable future – at least until Honda get their act together. And McLaren needs points having fallen to the bottom of the team’s standings, the only team with zero points from five races.

The car should be quite competitive here and McLaren need some points after Sauber scored four in Spain. Although this substitute appearance was supposed to be a no-pressure affair, I wondered whether it now feels that there is in fact a lot of pressure to bag points?

Button doesn’t see it that way at all: “Definitely not. I am very relaxed. Very excited, actually. It is interesting coming back for one grand prix,” he said. “It being Monaco is very special. I have won here. It is exciting but I don’t feel any pressure. None at all.

“The car seemed to be working well in Barcelona. Fernando did a good job. It proves the car is good. I drove the car in the simulator, I drove the upgrade and if it all goes well we should be reasonably competitive,” he added.

Jenson Button, Monaco GP 2017

The other drivers seemed genuinely happy to see Button back and it’s interesting to see him in F1’s new environment, which is quite different from the one which went before when Bernie Ecclestone was running the sport. Button made it clear that this is a one-off race, but the possibility still lingers that if Alonso loses patience with Honda and sees no signs of improvement he may decide not to continue.

That possibility had more legs before the ruse was devised to send him to Indianapolis as he has certainly rediscovered his mojo out there, which may make him feel more positive about the next six months back in F1. Time will tell. It’s unlikely that Button would want to step in again if anything were to happen with Alonso.

How will Button do this weekend?
As for his likely performance this weekend, he has not driven the 2017 car, but has done extensive work in the McLaren simulator. You can tell he would like to have been given a representative one day test, at a track that has some similarities with Monaco, but the F1 rules don’t allow it -even for stand-ins.

There is less disadvantage for him here than any other track in that all the F1 drivers will be getting used to the idea of fitting these extra wide F1 cars between the barriers, so he is less far behind in that sense not having driven the cars.

Against that his eyes and brain will have to get used to the speed again after six months as a normal civilian. That is exacerbated at Monaco, where the barriers make the speed seem more extreme and everything happens very quickly.

Jenson Button

Expect him to build up his pace slowly over FP1 and FP2, as he gets his eye in again. That should be back after three hours on Friday – presuming trouble free sessions and then you’d expect him to stretch it in qualifying.

His grid positions at Monaco have not been stellar in recent years; 9th in 2013, 12th in 2014, 10th in 2015 and 13th last season.

However in those four years he has come through to 6th, 6th, 8th and 9th respectively, so keep an eye on him in the race.

The possibility remains therefore, with this nimble looking McLaren chassis, that he could qualify in a similar place and fight for a point or two on Sunday. He’s good in the races here.

The weather forecast is good all weekend, so rain and mixed conditions will not help him.


What do you think? Where will Jenson finish Sunday’s Monaco GP? Leave your comments below

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1

The thing about a freak, but not totally beyond the realms of possibility, podium for Jenson could be that he ends the season as McLaren’s highest driver… wonder how that would sit with Alonso if his Indy trip doesn’t bear any fruit?

2

There is absolutely no chance either Button or Vandoorne will be in the points this weekend!

3

Well it is Monaco and a few cars usually bite the armco so you never know, the Maccas might make a point or two. Alonso might have scored in the last race but for getting caught up of incidents.

4

I hope he gets his eye back on Thursday, not Friday!

5

I voted 8th before reading other’s comments. I also thought Alonso would qualify 5th before it happened, so we’ll see. The car should be able to finish as Monaco doesn’t place so much strain on engines, sorry, powere units as the high speed flat-out tracks.

Go Jenson! Go Fernando!

6

why pressure ? NOTHING to loose anyway

7

Apart from the possibilities of JB scoring in this race just consider the facts as stated….Mclaren have NO points after five races!!! That is just a devastating revelation when taken in isolation. Hard to actually believe that two of the most prominent motorsport companies are taking this massive hit.

8

Agreed. Manor would have been more competitive. But Alonso completed the race distance last round, so improvement there.

9

Can’t vote because the options all assume that he WILL finish. I feel he is likely to crash out.

10

I’d enjoy seeing Jenson WIN!
But, alas, these cars ARE different to drive, from last year’s cars.
I believe some drivers are still adjusting.
So, it is not totally reasonable to expect him to even get points.
But I’d like it if he were to stand on the podium, just sort of… poetic, somehow.

11

If the engine holds together, I expect JB to cop points in this race, albeit down in ninth or tenth. The chassis does seem nimble, and experience tells at Monaco.

12

Wonder if Vandoorne will feel the pressure this weekend. He surely has to beat Button to maintain any credibility.

13

Judging Vandoorne is pretty tricky, because of the car’s performance and because McLaren have confirmed on at least 1 occasion Alonso has gotten upgrades before him.

14

Very true. It will be rather embarrassing if he gets beaten by an “old” guy who hasn’t even driven the car until this weekend. Then again, he is already being out-performed this year by another “old” guy team mate…..

15

Surely the poll needs an option for failing to finish due to engine failure? Talking of which I wonder if Alonso is having a sense of deja vu over at Indianapolis? It seems Honda can’t make reliable Indycar engines either, although at least those have some horsepower!

16

I voted ‘outside the points’ because I expect his Honda engine to expire before the finish.

17

Why would he feel the pressure? Its just one race for the team at the bottom of the points table.

18

I don’t doubt Jenson’s ability to get whatever he can out of that dog of a car but I’m afraid I had to vote “out of the points”. That Honda lump will explode long before the chequered flag.

19

It will be interesting to see how JB gets on. Honda issues during practice would be a disaster, but assuming all goes well I’m sure he can get a good result.

20

Great to see Jenson back for this race.. If the stars align he could suprise us …

21

Certainly, Monaco is Mclaren’s best chance to score some points for the team especially after Barcelona when Alonso proved that the chassis is good and pretty quick in the corners

So yes, welcome back to Jenson to the paddock because sometimes when a team has failed to find a break through, it’s time to introduce a super sub who can change the game e.g. when Stoffel scored Mclaren’s first points in 2016.

Having said that, it’s a unfortunate situation Mclaren find themselves and with sticking with Honda, the team seem to have chosen Honda money over trophies

And to make matters worse, the team no longer have Ron Dennis who was the architect behind their golden era.

Overall, where I think Jenson will finish in Monaco is P8 because Monaco is his home race

22

Back in Button’s early days at BAR, it became a running joke in our house that 8th seemed to be his favourite place – about the best that car could manage at the time, and also the lowest points paying position back then. So my money’s on Jenson taking back his traditional P8, in what’s likely to be his final ever F1 race.

23

@ Nezi

Hahaha okay

24

In the top 6👍👍
Get in there Jenson!

25

This is the acid test for McLaren, obviously Honda are the weakest link but I can’t believe their chassis is up rubbing shoulders with Mercedes/Ferrari. I think they’ll slot in around 8th-10th.

26

JB is about the only driver under no pressure at all. He’s a world champion, coming back for a single appearance, with no testing and driving what is comfortably the worst car on the grid. If he does well, brilliant, if he doesn’t, victim of circumstance. I expect he will do just fine right up until the engine goes bang.

27

MCLAREN HAVE FALLEN TO LAST IN THE F1 TEAM STANDINGS, BUT JENSON BUTTON FEELS “NO PRESSURE”

It would be more apt if you changed the ‘but’ to ‘so’

28

Lol….so true!

29

The Frome Flyer may be approaching early middle age, but he still looks as lean and tight as David Coulthard’s trousers. Middle aged spread? Not with JB – so fitting into the cockpit won’t be a problem for JB.

I think I’m correct in pointing out that Jenson and the Hulk are the only 6 footers in Formula 1, and the Vroom from Froom is the only 6 foot world champion of the modern era. The average height of a grand prix driver – well, successful driver anyway is 5’8′ – Lewis Hamilton’s by coincidence. Also, JB and the Hulk have both got red tinged hair (the MC1R gene). 6 foot tall, broad shouldered and red hair? Old JB and the Hulk must have been Viking or Celtic warriors in their past……….

30

Ocon is a giant compared to team mate Perez abd must be at least 6′

31

James,

Any idea if Honda will be able to introduce an improved PU (new combustion) in Canada GP? It seems the appropiate place to bring a step forward in horsepower.

32

JB is a class act. If the stars align he could, possibly, get deep into the points positions.

If the entire solar system conspires he could even make the podium. Donald Trump is President after all.

However much I’d love to see JB, McLaren and Honda to do well I think a more realistic ‘outsider’ to cheer on is either of the Red Bulls. DR was robbed last year, MV is going to be electrifying.

And I haven’t mentioned the Red or Silver cars yet. Really looking forward to this one!

33

If JB does well & beats teammate it won’t look good for Stoffel given Alonso has put in a couple of impressive runs in a car not worthy to already overshadow him.

34

Hulkenberg; “You won’t have to worry about neck strain for long, Jenson.” . . Great sense of humor.

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