Friday, 13 july 2018, 05:04 , by Matthew Scott
Jenson Button has advised his former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso to "do something else" in 2019 as the team's ongoing malaise denies him the chance to fight for honours in Formula 1. Two-time world champion Alonso has gone five years without a grand prix victory, and has instead set his sights on the 'Triple Crown' to quench his thirst for glory.
Twice a winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, Alonso was victorious at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year and now needs to win the Indianapolis 500 to match Graham Hill's unique feat of winning all three classic races.
Although McLaren have facilitated this desire to win in other categories - even supplying Alonso with an entry in last year's Indy 500 - the team's inability to deliver a competitive car in F1 has fuelled rumours of an exit at the end of the year.
A full-time seat in IndyCar, to tackle the Brickyard again, or a move to F1 rivals Renault have both been mooted, although McLaren's recent hiring of Gil de Ferran and Andrea Stella in the wake of Eric Boullier's resignation has been seen as a play to convince the Spaniard to remain.
Button has previously been on record claiming he remained at McLaren a year longer than he ought to as the team's move to Honda power units proved disastrous.
And with a switch to Renault similarly failing to bear fruit, the 2009 champion says Alonso must consider leaving.
"He's clearly still enjoying it, but as a double world champion, finishing ninth and being happy is not really something you want to get used to, Button told Sky Sports after Alonso's points-scoring effort at the British Grand Prix.
"I don't know what he's going to do next year, but I think they need a big turnaround and he has to have great belief in them to succeed next year, or he's going to go.
"I know how frustrated he is, I can hear it on the radio.
"He's got ambitions to win the Indy 500 and do the 'Triple Crown' and for me, I feel that's a good option for him next year.
"From a drivers' point of view who's got experience for this, he's got to do something else."