Could Jenson Button be on His Way Back?

Former F1 driver Jenson Button has been tapped to sit in for Fernando Alonso during the Monaco grand Prix, but is the Brit on his way back?

Button is one tough nut to crack. On one hand, he’s said that he’s done with racing – and now he’s saying he might be on his way back. While certainly no master of doublespeak, Button has left a bit of a tantalizing possibility in the wake of recent comments of his.

Button is no stranger to the woes of the McLaren-Honda project. If he returns, would he stray to others?
Button is no stranger to the woes of the McLaren-Honda project. If he returns, would he stray to others?

He’s made it no secret of his two-year deal with McLaren. Or that he backed out to make way for an incoming Stoffel Vandoorne. The former McLaren driver has now even gone so far as to say that he is unable to “rule out” a possibility that he will return to the sport full time in the future:

“I can’t rule 2018 out. I have a contract with the team to race next year so I would definitely not rule anything out. I had so many options to race this year it is hilarious.

That even went into this year with two different teams asking me to race. I have no interest in doing that.” – Jenson Button

Button’s comments seem to paint his situation as one in which he’s simply waiting for his time with McLaren to just run its course so he can get back to racing. While there’s no way to tell for certain, Button’s comment regarding “interest” could be regarding his interest in not terminating his McLaren contract early – possibly due to heavy financial penalties.

It's no wonder that McLaren's star driver, Fernando Alonso, has opted to skip out one of F1's most popular races for the Indy 500.
It’s no wonder that McLaren’s star driver, Fernando Alonso, has opted to skip out one of F1’s most popular races for the Indy 500.

It’s hard to tell what Button’s game plan is exactly. Should he come back, he would not be the first “retired” racer to do so – and it’s fair to say that once you’ve tasted the high-octane adrenaline rush of racing, it’s hard to quit. What that means for Formula One and McLaren, however, is a bit harder to scry.

Alonso’s displeasure with the team’s performance has been clearly evident, and Honda’s inability to put forth a capable power unit for 2017 has been the talk of the paddock all season long. If Button were to come back, he could very well snub the Woking-based outfit for another, more capable team. While that might not sit well with some fans, it’s hard to see why any self-respecting rider – retired or not – would opt for a seat in the McLaren project.