Jenson Button is not worried about the physical challenge of taking on the 2017 breed of F1 car
Button is officially McLaren's reserve driver but had been expected to fulfil a more ambassadorial role for the 2017 season after effectively retiring in December.
The Brit has not therefore undergone the intensive training schedule most drivers took on this winter to cope with the added G-force of the 2017 cars.
However, he was the first name mentioned when Fernando Alonso announced earlier this week that he would miss the Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete in the famous Indy 500, one leg of motor sport's 'Triple Crown'.
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And Button, a regular triathlete and Iron Man competitor, is confident that he is in good enough shape to handle the race on May 28.
"Most of all I’m looking forward to pitting myself against the unique racing challenge that is the Monaco Grand Prix," Button said.
"I’ll drive the MCL32 around Monaco in the McLaren sim beforehand, and I reckon I’ll be ready for the race after doing that.
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"I’m supremely fit, having done a lot of triathlon training recently, so I have no worries on that score.
"And it’ll be nice to say ‘hi’ to all my old Formula 1 mates too, and hopefully to give the fans something to cheer about.”
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Alonso and rookie team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne have managed just one finish between them in the opening two Grands Prix of the 2017 season – and that was when the young Belgian crossed the line 13th of 13 at the Australian Grand Prix.
The car's troubles have predominantly been attributed to the Honda power unit which, according to Alonso in pre-season, "lacks power and reliability".
However, Button seems optimistic about the chances of McLaren finishing in the top 10 in Monte Carlo.
“I’ve won the race before [with Brawn GP in his title-winning season] in 2009 and it’s one of my all-time favourite race tracks," Button added.
"It’s a tricky street circuit on which a good driver can really make a difference and, although the McLaren-Honda MCL32 hasn’t begun the season well, I think it may be more suited to Monaco than to the faster circuits that Fernando and Stoffel have raced it on so far this season.
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“OK, I realise we won’t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we’ll have a opportunity to score world championship points, which will be very valuable to the team in terms of constructors’ rankings."
And the team themselves, who could be forced to replace Alonso permanently at the end of the season when his contract expires, appear delighted to have such an experienced pair of hands to call upon.
“Jenson is a class act,” racing director Eric Boullier said.
“He’s a superb driver – fast, smooth and precise – and he won’t have lost any of his competitive edge over the past few months.
“After all, he’s missed only a handful of Grands Prix since his last outing in Abu Dhabi in late November last year, and he’s as fit as a fiddle. Also, he’s always been good at Monaco.
“He’ll do a great job for us, I’m sure of that.”