Tell a friend about this article
Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
Button Flooded Out as Irvine makes Double Impact

Sunday May 21st, 2000

By Marcus Lee

Jenson Button was cold, wet and miserable when he went out of Sunday's European Grand Prix while in seventh place and with just three laps remaining.

The 20-year-old Formula One novice had kept in the chase through wind, heavy rain and minimal visibility.

But a collision with fellow-Briton Johnny Herbert, which punctured the front of his Williams, ended Button's hopes.

"I had a hole in the nose of my car and water just seemed to pour in from then on," he said.

"I got soaked. In the end, I was wet through and freezing cold with water everywhere. My feet were cold and I was just sitting in water -- it was very difficult to carry on."

As Button pursued Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa's sixth-placed Arrows, the water leaked into the car's electrical system and brought his challenge to a halt.

"It looks as if we experienced some kind of shut-down," said the team's technical director Patrick Head. "Water seemed to have leaked into the chassis."

Herbert, making his 150th race start on the circuit where he won last year in equally-torrential conditions, survived the shunt but was then knocked out of the race in another collision when Austrian Alexander Wurz ran into him.

"I guess in conditions like these you expect the race to be eventful and last year it played into our hands," said Jaguar technical director Gary Anderson. "This year, it didn't."

Herbert was philosophical about it all.

"A point was always going to be just out of my reach so, to be honest, finishing seventh was no use -- so the incident with Wurz didn't matter that much to me.

"But it was a good race until the sudden ending."

Irvine makes a Double Impact

Herbert's team mate Eddie Irvine was earlier involved in a three-car incident with Dutchman Jos Verstappen and Ralf Schumacher at the Castrol chicane on lap 30.

Verstappen tried to slip his Arrows past Irvine but they collided and both spun on the track. The accelerating Schumacher then rammed into the back of Irvine, with both forced into the gravel without their rear wings.

"I lost the chance to gain my first points for Jaguar as a result of the incident," Irvine said.

Verstappen managed to recover momentarily before the 28-year-old ploughed into the tyre wall as his front right tyre ripped off.

"It was incredibly difficult to pass Eddie and he braked really late into the corner.

"We touched and then after the collision I had major oversteer and spun off out of control. It probably cost me a point," said the Dutchman.

Schumacher said he had been given no chance.

"I saw the accident coming between Jos and Eddie and I expected them both to slide off onto the inside," he said.

"But as Irvine's back end moved right in front of me, I had no way of getting out of the way."

Previous  |  News Index  |  Next  ]

© 2001 Reuters Limited. Click for restrictions
Copyright & Terms