Jenson Button was fortunate not to be harmed after a drain cover came loose during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday and caused a significant amount of damage to his McLaren Formula 1 car.
With the streets of Monaco forming the racetrack for the grand prix weekend, efforts are made to ensure that parts of the road such as drain covers are either removed or welded down to prevent them from damaging the cars.
Towards the end of FP1, Nico Rosberg sustained a puncture after running wide at Sainte Devote and hitting the drain cover, which then came loose and struck Button’s car.
The McLaren MP4-31 was left with significant damage to its front wing, with Button explaining that it had also affected a number of other parts in the process.
“The day was made tougher for my side of garage by the drain cover, which came loose and broke through my front wing, front suspension, brake duct and floor,” Button said.
“The mechanics did a great job to get the car ready for FP2, but we’ve still got a long way to go until we’re happy with our competitiveness.”
Button said he felt fortunate that the drain cover had remained at a low level and not come up near his cockpit.
“A racetrack is a controlled environment, and we take enough risks as racing drivers,” Button said.
“Normally, the safety standards here are very good, but that incident is something we don’t want to see again.
“It was lucky that the drain cover stayed quite low on the ground.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier added: “Jenson was fortunate to emerge unscathed from an incident in this morning’s session when a drain cover smashed into his car.
“The organizers work very hard to ensure this circuit is as safe as possible, but we need to look into exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”