Button gets the bird

Jenson Button was lucky to escape unhurt after he almost collided with a bird in a 160mph incident in South Africa.

Jenson Button was lucky to escape unhurt after he almost collided with a bird in a 160mph incident in South Africa.

The bird was killed after smashing into the air-box on the Williams BMW just above Button's head during testing yesterday at the Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg.

"Jenson can laugh about it now, but at the time it was frightening," said Button's father, John, today. "It could have been a lot more serious."

"Jenson's helmet looked as though someone had thrown a bottle of tomato sauce over it.

"All that was left of the bird was its legs, but they were about seven inches long so it must have been a fair size.

"It's lucky for Jenson that he sits so low down in the car. He is okay and was quite cool about it.

"I was listening on the radio and he just said 'I've just hit a bird' and asked whether he should bring the car back in for it to be checked."

Button could have suffered serious injury had he taken the full impact of the collision with the bird.

The Williams team, meanwhile, are confident the 20-year-old will be granted a super licence to make his debut in Australia on March 12.

Max Mosley, president of the world's governing body, FIA, said yesterday that Button had to complete 300km at race speed over two consecutive days and prove to a Formula One commission he was not a danger to others.

The Frome-born driver, who will earn £350,000 this season, completed the required distance in the last two days of the test and the granting of a licence looks a formality.

"The last two days at Kyalami offered us considerable track time which allowed Jenson to complete over 91 laps," said Williams' media manager Nav Sidhu. "We now look forward to pursuing his application for a super licence."

Button has another test session in Jerez, Spain, next week before partnering Ralf Schumacher in Australia when he will become Britain's youngest ever Formula One driver.

"I am beginning to feel more at ease with the FW22," said Button after the test in South Africa which was dogged by the worst weather seen in the Republic in over a decade.

"Apart from the incident with the stray bird, yesterday's progress certainly helped end a difficult week on a high."

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all