Jenson Button, McLaren Formula One driver, has taken measures to increase his personal security after the Briton and his wife were robbed while asleep in a private villa in the south of France this month.
The 2009 world champion’s wife Jessica had her 300,000 euro ($337,710) engagement ring taken in the burglary in Saint-Tropez, with Button fearing the couple may have been knocked out by soporific gas fed through the air conditioning system.
However, police told Reuters at the time that they had no information about that.
“You are obviously going to be more cautious,” Button, who also suffered an attempted armed robbery outside Brazil’s Interlagos circuit five years ago, told British reporters ahead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
“I had the issue in Brazil as well. You do worry so we have taken certain measures so that we feel more secure,” the Briton added.
“Social networking always brings up this issue and we don’t do social networking unless we are at home in Monaco now.”
Button, who spent last week relaxing in Japan with his wife’s family and friends, said the loss of valuables was less traumatic than the invasion of personal privacy and the possible use of gas.
“It is not nice to know that there was someone in your room going through your drawers just 10cm away from your wife’s head. That is the horrible bit,” he said.
“You can replace money and jewellery. It obviously hurts because of the sentimental value of things like the engagement ring — that is all replaceable — but our health isn’t.”
Button said it was odd nobody in the house had woken up.
“One of the officers we spoke to said it could be that we were gassed, so that is where that came from. It doesn’t matter either way to us what happened,” he said.
“Someone burgled our house when we were in it and whether we were gassed or not doesn’t matter. We are all here safe and well, that is the important thing but it is amazing that we didn’t realise it was happening.”
On the racetrack, Button faces another difficult weekend despite Honda bringing upgrades to their under-performing engine.
“We’ll start at the back of the grid,” he said, with both McLaren drivers set to incur penalties for excessive engine use.