Button pulls out of Monaco race


  • Other Sport
  • Monday, 02 Jun 2003

MONACO: Briton Jenson Button said yesterday he was desperate to compete in the Monaco Grand Prix but reluctantly accepted doctors orders to miss the race.        

Button was withdrawn from the race following his 290kph accident in Saturday's morning practice which resulted in him spending the night in the Princess Grace Hospital.        

He was eager to take part after being released from hospital yesterday morning, but was withdrawn by BAR-Honda following advice from from doctors and FIA medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins.        

“I want to race, obviously, but in the circumstances I’m not going to,” Button said.  

“It’s difficult. The doctor didn’t want me to drive but I wanted to. I’m a racing driver, that’s what I do. All I remember is spinning lots and hitting the wall very hard. I think I hit the right wall first on braking. There was a bollard sticking out and I clipped it with a wheel.        

THE AFTERMATH: Two circuit marshalls watch a truck go past with the remains of Britain's Jenson Button's BAR-Honda F1 car after his crash on the Monte Carlo Circuit on Saturday during free practice in preparation for Monaco F1 Grand Prix.--APpic.

“That sent me spinning across and I hit the other wall. I was actually quite lucky because it hit in the middle of the car and that took a lot of force out of it.        

“I did black out for a little while. If I’m not fit to drive then I’m not fit to drive. I had slight concussion yesterday and if the same thing happened today it wouldn’t be good for me.”        

Button touched the barrier when exiting the tunnel and ploughed into the barriers at the chicane at about 290kph. 

He remained in his car as marshals freed him from the wreckage before being taken to hospital for x-rays and scans.        

His only injury is a problem with his knee and he added: “I’m not hurt. I have lots of aches but I’m not hurt too bad. My only problem is my knee, which is not working in the joint too well.        

“I was unconscious when I crashed and I was not making much sense speaking afterwards. But then again that’s quite normal!        

“Sid was going to let me race but advised me not to. I wanted to race but then I’m only 23. I’m a bit embarrassed by it all to be honest because I don’t like coming here when I’m not racing.”  

BAR-Honda team principal David Richards said: “Jenson is not going to race. It is a decision for the long term and I stand by that decision because after a trauma like that you never know what a second knock on the head might do. 

“He wanted to prove something here but we lost the opportunity for the race by not qualifying and he has a long career ahead of him so it is pointless to squander that for one weekend in Monaco.” 

Richards said there is “no doubt” about Button taking part in a scheduled test at the high-speed Monza circuit in Italy next week and the Briton is already undergoing hydrotherapy in Monaco. 

Watkins said Button was disappointed but accepted his advice not to race. 

“Jenson had a concussion so it would have been unwise to expose him to another possible concussion,” Watkins said. – AFP  

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