When Jenson Button bowed out from Formula One at the end of last season there was a sense he was entirely comfortable with his decision. The British driver was almost demob-happy in his final races after a long career that had begun in 2000 for Williams, included a world championship for BrawnGP in 2009 and concluded with seven years at McLaren.
Although the latter had retained Button on sabbatical this year with an option for 2018, it was clear he did not really expect to climb behind the wheel again.
The 37-year-old will have to dust down the race suit once more after McLaren announced he will replace Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix, while the Spaniard competes in the Indianapolis 500. Button’s skills will not have faded during the short-lived period of R&R but a tough task awaits.