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NOVEMBER 25, 2000

Frentzen awaits interesting year

GERMAN driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen has expressed his uncertainty as to whether the proposed changes to Formula One in the next season will be beneficial to the sport.

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, are considering several technical changes for the future of the sport - with the most notable being the possible return of traction control, which helps drivers control wheel-spin.

"There will be a lot of changes next season," said Frentzen. "Both from the personal and technical point of view.

"I am not sure that all of them are for the better, but it will make for an interesting year whatever the outcome.

"There have been several changes to the technical regulations for next year's cars and there is a strong chance that the FIA will agree to a push from the teams to bring back traction control and launch control systems to the cars."

The matter of traction control is controversial as some drivers, like Jean Alesi, believe it takes the importance of the driver away. Frentzen insisted the return of traction control will eliminate any chance of teams cheating.

He added: "Since they were banned a few years ago it has proved almost impossible for the FIA to police. There is little doubt that some teams have been cheating and getting away with it with clever software programs, so the feeling is that if it is allowed, then at least everyone will be playing from the same level."

Traction control makes the cars easier to handle in all conditions, although Frentzen believes that this also has a negative side.

"With traction control you simply have to point the car in the right direction and step on the throttle," said Frentzen. "It takes most of the skill out of wet weather driving and although it will never turn a bad driver into a good one, it could make him look a lot better than he really is.

"The good drivers will still make a better job of braking or turning into the corners at the right speed, but traction control will make it all the harder to shine.

"It will also take a lot of personal satisfaction away from the race for me, for a really good start will become nothing special any more. Now it will be down to simple reaction times as the lights go out."