Former McLaren driver Jenson Button believes Fernando Alonso has finally come around to his senses and “made the right decision” after announcing his departure from F1.
Button, who retired from the sport at the end of 2016 but enjoyed a one-off come-back with the Woking-based outfit at Monaco, when he replaced Alonso, also said the Spaniard was right to leave the door open for the future.
“I said to him he’s finally made the right decision. He’s woken up and smelled the coffee, as we say,” said the 2009 world champion, speaking to the media at Silverstone during the weekend’s WEC round.
“It’s always down to the individual when they choose to leave Formula 1. He’s 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. But if the McLaren’s quick and it’s winning races, he’ll be back in Formula 1.”
While commending his former team mate for making the right call, Button insisted Alonso would likely remain a busy man in the near future.
“Discussing his retirement means nothing, it’s more his career, it’s been exceptional. To win two world championships and be close on a couple of other times, there aren’t many people who get to do that,” Button said.
“We were teammates, so I know exactly the strengths and weaknesses for Fernando. It was really, really enjoyable racing with Fernando and against him as a teammate.
“My toughest teammate, really enjoyed it though. My late father always respected Fernando, and that’s always a good judge of character. He used to get on very well with my father as well, Fernando.
“It’s really nice to race with him. Tomorrow we start second and third on the grid, which is quite cool,” added the Brit.
“But he’s still going to be racing until he’s 95 years old. He races more than me, he’s at the karting school in Spain all the time, driving, teaching. He’s obviously racing in WEC.
“I think next year he’ll still have a busy schedule. You can’t stop a racing driver racing. I thought I could stop, but I can’t.”
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