McLaren unsure who will replace Fernando Alonso at Monaco GP
Eric Boullier to make final recommendation on who partners Stoffel Vandoorne in Monaco
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 24/04/17 1:52pm
McLaren do not know who will replace Fernando Alonso at the Monaco GP, executive director Zak Brown has confirmed.
The team made the surprise announcement on Wednesday that Alonso would race in the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, making him unavailable for the race in Monaco.
Jenson Button retired from Formula 1 at the end of last season but remains under contract with McLaren as reserve driver and holds an ambassadorial role with the team.
The Woking outfit also added 17-year-old Brit Lando Norris to their young driver programme earlier this year.
Brown said on Wednesday evening that McLaren were in discussions with drivers to replace Alonso and that racing director Eric Boullier would have the final call on his replacement.
"Fernando's replacement driver is not in place. Those conversations are ongoing. We have a few different options and we will state who that is when we know," Brown said.
"Eric, who runs the Formula 1 team, is ultimately responsible for making the recommendation for what driver goes in the car. He will be here at the weekend. He's working on it and I wouldn't want to share what conversations he's had with whom."
Monaco's street circuit is one of the most challenging to drive on the Formula 1 and McLaren may therefore turn to the experience of Button to fill the seat.
The 2009 world champion started more than 300 grands prix during his career, although he has not driven the 2017 MCL32 car.
Following this weekend's Bahrain GP, the team will remain at the Sakhir circuit for an in-season test and whoever drives the McLaren may be a pointer as to who will take the vacant seat in Monaco.
"I believe that Stoffel is going to be in the car for some of the time. I think once a driver decision is made, Eric will ultimately make that decision [on who else drives in the test]," Brown said.
"I don't personally know [how much experience Jenson has of the 2017 car]. He obviously hasn't tested it physically but whether he has done simulator time with the '17 car, Eric would have more knowledge than I on that."
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