Speaking at Silverstone, where he is racing the two-time world champion in this weekend’s round of the World Endurance Championship, Jenson Button said that in the right circumstances Fernando Alonso will return to Formula One.
Earlier this week, Alonso announced that he would not be racing in F1 in 2019, however, while making clear that there were other challenges he was relishing he didn’t entirely close the door to a future F1 return.
The ambiguity of the release recalled that of McLaren‘s infamous three-driver strategy release of 2016, when the Woking outfit revealed that Jenson Button had extended his contract but said little about the Englishman actually driving, rather that he would “play an active role as a key member of the team”.
While Alonso heads off, most likely to IndyCar, Button believes that the Spaniard may yet return to F1, but admits that the conditions would have to be right, rather than a potential replay of the last few seasons.
“It’s always down to the individual when they choose to leave Formula One,” Button told reporters. “He has done the same thing as what I chose to do, leave but leave it open for one year after, to go back. I think that’s the right option to do.
“If the McLaren‘s quick and it’s winning races, he’ll be back to Formula One, definitely,” added the Briton.
“Every driver in the world would love to be in a winning car in Formula One,” admitted the 2009 world champion. “You retire, I think, because you get bored of the travel and the stress of it, and if your results aren’t there, there’s no reason to be there.
“If the car is quick, I’m sure he’d want to jump back in in 2020.”
Alonso is scheduled to test an IndyCar next month in Alabama, though a decision on his plans for 2019 isn’t due until October.