Sauber Left Furious with Button After Monaco Shunt


Button's McLaren-Honda MCL32 prior to race-ending contact with Wehrlein. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

One highlight of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix was the bizarre incident between 2009 world champion Jenson Button and Sauber F1 Team’s Pascal Wehrlein, which saw the latter trapped in his car as it lay on its side against one of Monaco’s many barriers.

Wehrlein and Button – who was replacing Fernando Alonso for the event – spent much of the race circulating at the rear of the field following their lap 1 pit-stops. That was until, on lap 58, the former world champion attempted an ambitious move entering the harbour side corner, Portier.

Button made contact with the right rear of Wehrlein’s Sauber and the car was pitched onto its side, coming to rest against the barrier, trapping Wehrlein until he was eventually extracted by marshals.

The botched move earned Button a three-place grid penalty for his next race, somewhat ironically given that Button has stated that Monaco was his last time racing in Formula One. But Sauber’s team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, has said she was left furious with Button following the incident.

“Yes, I am [furious],” she told Autosport, “because I don’t understand how it can come to that kind of situation.

“I don’t understand how one can assess a situation and get it so wrong.

“There was no way he could pull the move off, that’s why I don’t know why he would try to do such a move.”

It was unclear at the time but Wehrlein’s crash helmet made contact with the barrier and he underwent several medical checks once extracted from the car. He was later declared fit for next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix but given the young German missed the first two races of the year due to a back injury, Sauber are quite rightly being cautious and will be monitoring Wehrlein’s fitness in the coming days.

Speaking post-race in Monaco, Wehrlein himself said:“I’m feeling good about doing the next race, my back feels OK.

“[After my Race of Champions crash] it was one hour before I felt anything and then the pain was massive.

“Now after two hours, I’m feeling OK, so that’s good.

“But it’s difficult to say. I will see how I feel in the next few days.”

  • NLR

    And how did you feel last year with your drivers wiping each other out Monica??

  • kcabmi

    “I don’t understand how one can assess a situation and get it so wrong.”

    I assume she was commenting on her pit crew releasing Wehrlein in to the path of Button.

    Button’s move was desperate, but so to was being stuck behind a useless driver in a slow car that shouldn’t have been there.

  • mjpeaty

    Put your own house in order Monica before criticising others. The unsafe release was far more serious than an overtaking move, which if it had been anywhere else but Monaco, would be insignificant.