Confirmed: Button called up to replace Alonso at Monaco

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This much became clear on Thursday when two-time champion Alonso talked about his reasons for making the one-off switch and described it as a "win-win" position for all involved. "It'll be a great experience for him".

Speaking about the decision of selecting Alonso's replacement, McLaren executive director Zak Brown refused to mention names but said conversations are being held.

"He sees motorsport differently".

Sporting-political bombshells seldom come bigger, and McLaren's announcement that it would be releasing its talismanic driver from his F1 duties on the biggest weekend of the year sent the sport into meltdown.

After Alonso announced he was taking up the 500 mile challenge in Indianapolis next month Button seemed to tease his followers that he might be getting the call up...

He said it was not likely that he would have taken the chance to switch if his McLaren Honda auto was competitive this season.

Either way, we're all counting on you, J-Butts. Also, he's always been good at Monaco.

Although it would have been logical for Button to take part in next week's post-Bahrain GP test - or even run in a free practice session in Spain or Russian Federation - to better understand this year's revamped, McLaren thinks there is more to gain by concentrating on simulators. "I don't know if it will be next year or the following years".

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"The first priority is F1".

"It is very challenging but I am not afraid of doing it, I am not afraid that I will be completely ready when the racing starts because it is very challenging and very attractive as well, I am looking forward to this event".

"Perhaps if the races didn't clash or at the end of his Formula 1 career, but obviously McLaren has got this approach which is different to ours, but good for them".

"Definitely, it was something on the table this year", he said.

Grosjean's Danish team mate Kevin Magnussen, whose father Jan has competed in America and at Le Mans, said he understood the Spaniard's approach. He has three F1 races for McLaren - in Bahrain, Russia and then Spain - before he makes his IndyCar debut on May 28 in Indianapolis.

The only driver ever to have won the triple crown was the late Graham Hill, the British driver, who was active from the late 1950's to the mid-1970s and like Alonso, twice won the F1 drivers' title.

"After Russia, I will try to be in Indianapolis for a couple of simulator days, hopefully test the vehicle but it's not 100 per cent sure, and after that I will go to the Spanish Grand Prix and then fly to America on Sunday after the race".