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Jenson Button opts not to track test McLaren MCL32 ahead of Monaco return

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SAKHIR, Bahrain -- Jenson Button will not track test this year's McLaren-Honda before taking part in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Button will drive for McLaren at Monaco to substitute for Fernando Alonso, who will be taking part in the Indy 500 the same weekend. The team announced Button's one-off return on Friday -- which would have been in time for him to drive the car at Bahrain's post-race test -- but McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said the team decided with Button to limit his preparation to simulator work.

"It's very simple," Boullier said, "we discussed this at length together and Jenson obviously spent 17 years racing in Formula One, 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 [test driver] 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."

Although Boullier admitted McLaren had contingency plans if Button was not able or willing to drive, he said the 2009 champion jumped at the opportunity to get back behind the wheel.

"It started a week ago with a couple of texts and then we just rang and it was maybe two minutes, a very short discussion and very easy.

"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."

McLaren's executive director Zak Brown said on Wednesday that several options were being considered, but Boullier said Button had always been the number one choice.

"I think because of the time of the discussion or when he did the press conference about Indy I was running my own scenarios in the back, but Jenson was the choice from day one. It's also my responsibility to cover any ifs - if he was committed to something, if he was sick - anything that would have stopped him from driving in Monaco. So that was the meaning of Zak's words."