Button Accident Damaged Neck Support

FIA medical officer Sid Watkins revealed today that Jenson Button's heavy accident in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix ruptured the foam neck support on his BAR-Honda car.

Button Accident Damaged Neck Support

FIA medical officer Sid Watkins revealed today that Jenson Button's heavy accident in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix ruptured the foam neck support on his BAR-Honda car.

Button crashed at high-speed on Saturday morning after clipping the barriers coming out of the tunnel section and ploughed sidewards into the tyre barriers. Watkins was on scene quickly and admitted that the 23-year-old Briton was shaken inside the cockpit and also revealed the impact had damage the foam neck support made customary in Formula One in 1996.

"He was a bit, what shall I say, shaken - so we took him out on the extraction seat," Watkins said. "He sits in an extricable seat, as do all the drivers in Formula One, so the seat actually splits for the spine when they are taken out.

"It was a big bang and the head and neck protection has been ruptured by the head movement. Not the HANS device, the foam u-shaped thing that fits around the top of the car. I think it probably is the biggest impact of the HANS system, other than when (Juan Pablo) Montoya had his accident at Silverstone and went in under the tyres, and it is designed for frontal impact, not lateral.

"That is when we rely on the foam thing, for the lateral shunts. We introduced it at the start of 1996 and we wished had it for (Mika) Hakkinen's accident in 1995. "

Button was taken to hospital and missed qualifying, and Watkins will make an assessment on Sunday morning whether the driver is fit enough to take part in the race.

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