McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has revealed Jenson Button's was the team's only genuine target to replace Fernando Alonso in the MCL32 for next month's Monaco Grand Prix.

The 2009 F1 world champion will return to the F1 cockpit in next month's blue riband Monaco event in place of former team-mate Alonso, who will skip the sixth round of the season in favour of tackling the Indianapolis 500 for the first time.

With Button - who retired from F1 at the end of the 2016 season after 17 years at the top level - immediately identified as the most logical replacement for Alonso despite the haste of the Spaniard's Indy 500 deal, Boullier says the Briton jumped at the opportunity.

HE's BACK! Jenson Button will return to F1 in the Monaco Grand Prix

"I rang him, we just discussed it and his first reaction was 'great, I'm so excited!' It was an easy discussion to be honest, very straightforward. He was the choice, he had a contract with us anyway, but you could feel his excitement over the phone was real and I'm happy that he will be part of this adventure."

Despite this, Button's first outing in the MCL32 will not come until the Monaco Grand Prix FP1 session, despite a two-day test session in Bahrain next week.

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"It's very simple, Boullier explained. "We discussed this at length together and Jenson obviously spent 17 years racing in Formula 1, he actually drove the kind of level of downforce we have today. Going through the differences on the technicality to drive this car, we agreed the track layout here or even doing any running in practice in Barcelona will not be very useful.

"He's fit, he's ready and having Oliver Turvey next week is part of fine-tuning the correlation with our simulator. Our simulator in the MTC is very accurate now, and we both believe it is better for him to spend a couple of days in the simulator driving this car model straight into Monaco."



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