Formula 1 cameos: The good and the bad as Jenson Button prepares for a brief return

Formula 1

He just can't keep away.

Yes, despite having decided to give Formula 1 a miss this year, Jenson Button will be back behind the wheel of the McLaren for next month's Monaco Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso goes off for a crack at the Indy 500.

It could be the greatest Formula 1 cameo ever. Then again, it could be the worst.

BBC Sport takes a trip down memory lane to see how some other cameos in Formula 1 turned out.

The bad...

Jean-Louis Schlesser - 1988 Italian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jean-Louis Schlesser's crash with Ayrton Senna at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix handed Ferrari a surprise win

Jean-Louis Schlesser deputised for Nigel Mansell at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix... and promptly crashed his Williams into Ayrton Senna - who was right in the middle of one of the most dominant title wins in the sport's history.

Strangely, that appearance at Monza was Schlesser's one and only start in Formula 1.

Formula 1
After his brief stint in F1, Schlesser would go on to become the 1989 and 1990 World Sports-Prototype champion for Sauber

Michael Andretti - McLaren's moment to forget

McLaren F1 driver Michael Andretti in action in 1993
Michael Andretti's first two races were ended by crashes

"I think he can become world champion," McLaren boss Ron Dennis said of Michael Andretti - son of F1 legend and 1978 champion, Mario - when he signed him up in 1993.

He failed to finish any of the first four races he started before leaving McLaren with three remaining.

Luca Badoer - bad by name, bad by nature?

Luca Badoer in action at the 2009 Belgium
Badoer started 50 grands prix but disappointed in his two appearances for Ferrari

No, Badoer was not a bad driver by any means, but his return in 2009 was.

The Italian stepped in for Felipe Massa as the Brazilian recovered from his crash in Hungary... and had a shocker.

He qualified last at Valencia and Spa, was way off the pace generally and Ferrari promptly replaced him with Giancarlo Fisichella before the Italian Grand Prix.

The good...

Schumacher shines

1991. The year Michael Schumacher arrived on the Formula 1 scene.

The then 22-year-old got his big break with Jordan when Bertrand Gachot had been sent to prison following an altercation with a taxi driver and Schumacher grasped his opportunity with both hands.

F1
Schumacher out-qualified his veteran team-mate Andrea de Cesaris on his F1 debut

He qualified eighth in his one and only race for Jordan - the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix - with the big names of Ayrton Senna, Riccardo Patrese, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi and Nelson Piquet ahead of him.

A gearbox failure ended his race early but Schumacher's performance in qualifying had done enough to get fans and F1 personnel alike excited about the young German.

Schumacher was subsequently snapped up by Benetton and so began the career of a racing legend.

Gilles Villeneuve shines on his McLaren debut

Formula 1
Formula 1 mechanics dressed a little differently back in 1977 it seems...

A star was born.

Gilles Villeneuve's Formula 1 career started when he impressed James Hunt at a non-championship Formula Atlantic event in 1976. Hunt went back to his McLaren team, urging them to give this exciting Canadian a shot, which they did.

Villeneuve was offered a drive for the British Grand Prix the following year and made the most of it, qualifying ninth and running on the pace of the leaders in an older car.

He went on to finish 11th, with some British newspapers lauding his debut performance as that of a future world champion. McLaren, though, decided not to take up an option on Villeneuve and he instead signed for Ferrari to replace Niki Lauda.

Winkelhock leads... in a Spyker

Markus Winkelhock in action at the Nurburgring 2007
Markus Winkelhock in action at the Nurburgring 2007

Markus Winkelhock leading a Formula 1 race.

On his debut.

In a Spyker.

Yep. It happened.

The amazing sight of a Spyker leading a grand prix occurred at the 2007 European Grand Prix. Winkelhock was called in to drive in the 10th race of the season following Christijan Albers' departure and started last on the grid.

Winkelhock started the race on intermediates while the rest of the field were on dry-weather tyres and, when a heavy downpour forced everyone else to pit at the end of the first lap, Winkelhock moved into the lead.

At one point, the German led by 33 seconds, but as the rain got heavier the safety car was sent out before the race was suspended until the rain eased. When it resumed, Spyker gambled on further rain by keeping Winkelhock on full wet tyres. It did not pay off as Winkelhock dropped down the order before retiring on lap 15 with a hydraulic issue.

Top Stories