Button Had Nothing to Prove, Says Richards

BAR boss David Richards said Briton Jenson Button had nothing to prove by racing in today's Monaco Grand Prix following his heavy accident on Saturday.

Button Had Nothing to Prove, Says Richards

BAR boss David Richards said Briton Jenson Button had nothing to prove by racing in today's Monaco Grand Prix following his heavy accident on Saturday.

"I know he wants to prove something here, he felt he had something to prove, but he doesn't have to prove it to us," said the team boss.

BAR withdrew Button from the race despite his eagerness to get back behind the wheel after spending a night in hospital recovering from a crash.

Button, third in Thursday's qualifying, was lucky to escape injury after slewing across the road and slamming into the tyre wall sideways as he roared out of the tunnel at around 290 km/h in Saturday's free practice. BAR technical director Geoff Willis said it was a case of simple driver error.

Severely shaken by the impact, the 23-year-old was discharged from Monaco's Princess Grace hospital on Sunday morning and was already working out when the team made the decision.

"I've just had him on my phone and he said 'I can race, I've got no problems'," said Richards. "But we just took the decision. For his long-term well being it was far more sensible to withdraw him from the race today and I stand by that decision. After a trauma like that a second blow to the head or anything like that today would be very foolish."

Richards said that Button, who equalled his career-best fourth place in Austria two weeks ago, would have started from the back of the grid anyway after missing final qualifying. Button's absence left BAR with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 champion with Williams, as sole driver.

"I'm obviously disappointed but (Button) lost that opportunity with not going into qualifying rather than not competing in the race," said Richards. "He'll be testing in Monza this week and Canada in two weeks' time and he's got a long career ahead of him. We don't need to squander it on one afternoon in Monaco.

"I'm sure we could have argued the case but that's not the purpose and there's no point to it."

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