Jenson Button, McLaren, Monaco, 2017

Collision penalty caps off Monaco return to forget for Button

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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Jenson Button’s Formula One career will end with a three-place grid penalty seemingly forever hanging over him after his collision with Pascal Wehrlein in Monaco.

With the stewards handing the penalty and two superlicense penalty points to Button, who does not intend to return to the sport after this weekend’s cameo appearance, it appears that the former champion’s career will end with the grid penalty never being served.

As the penalty applies to the driver and not the car, Fernando Alonso will not be forced to serve this penalty upon his return to Formula One at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Reflecting on his return and the accident, Button says he believed the move on Pascal Wehrlein into Portier was on.

“I knew that Pascal’s tyres were going,” explains Button. “I had the same set of tyres on from the start of the race. I had a lot of traction off the previous corner, because when these tyres go on the marbles, they have no grip.

“I went up the inside and I thought I was a long way up the inside and then I looked across and saw that he hadn’t seen me so I tried to back out, but it’s obviously too late then. The problem is I don’t think you can really see much with the mirrors, but in a racing move you don’t think ‘oh, he’s not going to see me because of the mirrors’.

“I gave it a go and thought it was a fair enough judgement. But the worst thing is that you never like seeing a car tip over, you never know if his head’s going to hit something. So the most important thing is that Pascal’s okay. I saw him a minute ago and he seemed to be okay.”

The accident and subsequent penalty capped off a return to forget for Button, who was forced to start from the back of the grid despite a solid qualifying effort and who spent the majority of the race stuck at the back.

“I enjoyed yesterday, I enjoyed some laps today,” says Button. “Obviously I never want to damage the car. It’s not something I do very often. I’m sorry to the team for doing that. But the thing is, it’s tricky. You’re in a race, you’re right at the back. If you think there’s a move, you have to take it.”

Asked if the Monaco cameo had made him reconsider his retirement, Button gave a straight-forward response.

“No. No, definitely not.”

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 38 comments on “Collision penalty caps off Monaco return to forget for Button”

    1. These Sauber cars just keep getting in the way. Sure Button was a little to feisty but it seems that these useless back markers keep causing unnecessary problems. Scrap Sauber from this day forward.

      1. “These useless back markers” are having more points than Mclaren..

        1. @mahuu, it’s more than that – Sauber have been ahead of McLaren in the WCC from the very first race.

      2. With both McLarens and both Saubers finishing the race in the barriers, I don’t understand why only Sauber should have to go…

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          29th May 2017, 2:20

          Because they have less constructors titles, less money, less sponsors and less future prospects than McLaren whose names has obviously been ruined solely by Honda.

      3. knoxploration
        28th May 2017, 22:30

        Wehrlein was given a smack on the wrist for a major pitlane infraction. The five-second penalty was nothing, as had he not been unsportingly and dangerously released into Button’s path *he would have been behind him* on track and this subsequent incident never would have happened.

        The stewards caused this incident by handing out a laughably meaningless consequence for downright dangerous behavior at the one track where such behavior is most likely to cause serious injury or death.

        1. @knoxploration, I agree with your 1st. paragraph entirely, surely in the more serious case of gaining an advantage from a rules infraction the errant car should be ordered to give up the place immediately, if not sooner.

        2. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          29th May 2017, 2:14

          Blaming the stewards for a driver error is incorrect. Two wrongs do not make a right, and Button has also walked away with a slap on the wrist, considering the fact that he *might* not return for another race in the future.

        3. Sorry, have to disagree, you cannot blame Pascal for the “unsafe release” that is down to the team and not the driver. The overtake move by Jenson is one of the craziest I have ever seen, I can’t imagine what he was thinking, that was a “rookie” move from one of the most experienced drivers on the grid.

    2. Goodbye Jenson. . Pls don’t come back.

      1. Goodbye Keamo Pls don’t come back

        1. You got that right. +100

    3. mark jackson
      28th May 2017, 17:53

      If Jenson had to take Fernando’s engine penalties, shouldn’t Fernando have to take Jenson’s collision penalties? :P

      1. The engine (and car its bolted into) is the constructor’s responsibility, not the driver’s :-)

        This penalty is for driving standards, so its appropriate it follows the driver.

    4. Neil (@neilosjames)
      28th May 2017, 18:06

      Can just imagine Button turning up at one of those classic F1 races in 15 years and finding Derek Warwick standing on the grid in front of his car with a clipboard, grinning…

    5. When you retire, go for good. Should never have attempted a comeback in the first place.

      1. Spoken with the benefit of massive hindsight. He was contracted to drive, he never actually retired.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          28th May 2017, 19:16

          Quite. If Alonso dislikes McLaren Honda as much as he looks to have recently, He may well not be there next year. And from what we have seen of Stoffel this year, he has been very poor indeed. I think one of them at leased could well either not be in the team or out of F1. Can’t be certain though. But I do feel it is very possible that Button could race for the team next year as he is still contracted. He also said at the end of last year that he may race in 2018.

          Button had a strong qualifying and a decent race considering how bad the car was right up until he crashed – which admittedly didn’t look very good. But Button hasn’t really been involved in crashes like this any more than Alonso has been in recent years If I’m honest. Both drivers rarely have these clumsy moments. But I can remember China in 2015 where Button knocked Maldonado out of the race. Then there was Abu Dhabi 2016 and Australia 2016 where Alonso was responsible for 2 drivers retirements as well as his own in Australia.

          1. + 1 If Jenson had not actually had to start from the back of the grid he might have had a very different race. Imagine if he had started 9th. He probably would have collected points.

            His move was ill-judged but his team mate today drove straight into the wall.

          2. Agree
            There was a gap and Button went for it as any racer would. Yes quite feisty but know Alonso would have tried this, also the problem was passing an inexperienced and immature Wehrlien who would never have moved over even if he had seen Jenson.
            Not the first time that he has held up or blocked other drivers. Ridiculous penalty given to Wehrlien and team by the stewards for an unsafe release in the pit lane which was far more dangerous than an overtaking move. Racing incident. Jenson come back next year in an improved car and show what can really happen – don’t think he will ‘tho.

      2. I would rather have Jense back and Massa gone.

    6. I bet he peed when he realised what a stupid move he made

      1. Well he certainly would have had a quick on when he saw Wehrlein fly head first towards the barrier!

      2. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        29th May 2017, 2:22

        Well, he did tell Alonso that he would pee in his seat. :)

    7. They’ll move his bike down 3 racks while he’s swimming in his next triathlon, and he won’t be able to find it.

    8. He was at the back anyway so at least he got some airtime and attention this way.

      I saw a comment on YouTube saying: they said it’s impossible to drive Monaco with two wheels. They Wehrlein.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        29th May 2017, 2:26

        IMO, they Wehrentlein.

    9. The move was never on. Because the only outcome for Wehrlein was to bounce off the wall and back into Button.

    10. His race was over anyway, when Honda decided to change the MGU-H. He had nothing to lose. McLaren was much faster than Sauber. If he had not tried anything, he would have finished behind Wehrlein for sure. Not his fault the organisation decides to “race” on a track where you have a low chance of making an overtake a succes.

      JB was superb all weekend though. Great pace in a car he doesn’t know. We’ve seen drivers named “the new Senna” crash 3 times in a weekend because it was “a new car to them”. JB showed he is still a true champ! Honda showed this weekend, why they should pack their bags and leave to never come back.

      1. FreddyVictor
        29th May 2017, 8:05

        totally agree, great job by JB considering the penalty

        regarding Wehrlein’s 5s penalty, surely would have been better if CW asked him to let JB go by …

      2. By the time the power unit and diffuser were given to Stoffel from Jenson’s car, any “race” for him was effectively over, so Jenson had nothing to lose and had to go for any gap available.
        If the track was anywhere else but Monaco, Wehrlein’s car would not have ended up sideways against the barrier, racing incident involving a young driver who blocks often and seems to have little spacial awareness of others on the track.
        Thought Monaco was processional and boring, would never want to go to watch a F1 race there, but OK if you just want to party and have big money.

    11. According to the document on the FIA website, the penalty is ‘Drop of 3 grid positions at the drivers’ next event in the season’, so if he does not race again this season, he will not have to serve the penalty. Note that the words ‘in the season’ do not normally appear in these documents.

    12. So, the driver who make so stupid crash is a world champion?

    13. First weekend where Honda had very little to do with their results (except for Button’s grid penalty).
      What a shame that was….

    Comments are closed.