Formula 1 may have seen the last of Jenson Button following the 2009 World Champion’s Monaco Grand Prix comeback as substitute for McLaren the team’s star driver Fernando Alonso.
The 37-year-old Briton made it abundantly clear at the weekend that while he enjoyed the experience more than expected he had no desire to do any more Formula One races this year.
“It has not whetted my appetite for any more — definitely not,” said Button, who started last and from the pit lane due to penalties and retired from the race after colliding with Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber.
Button, who was deemed at fault by race stewards and given a three-place grid drop for a next race that may never happen, will have breathed a big sigh of relief to see double world champion Alonso emerge unscathed from a crash-strewn Indianapolis 500.
Had the Spaniard been injured in a race he led for 27 laps before his car’s Honda engine expired in all-too familiar circumstances with 21 of the 200 laps remaining, Button’s services might have been required further.
Asked before the race whether he might return as a stand-in later in the year if required, Button replied: “Who knows, but I don’t plan on it. I also know that the team don’t plan on moving their race drivers around.”
“So no, it’s definitely not the plan for me to race again this year in Formula One. In other categories, possibly yes. But not in Formula One, I’ve got my own things that I’m enjoying away from the sport at the moment.”
Former champions McLaren — the only team yet to score a point this year — have an option on Button for 2018 but he left no doubt that he had not missed the sport he left at the end of last year.
While he said he had enjoyed practice “more than I have for a couple of years to be fair”, he was also clearly unsettled by the width and characteristics of the new cars and the prospect of trying to overtake.
The best moment of his afternoon was perhaps a phone call from Alonso before the start, with the Spaniard wishing him luck and asking him to take car of his car.
“Ok, I’m going to pee in your seat,” replied Button with a laugh.