Button unsure of traction control as BMW back move

BRITON Jenson Button on Saturday expressed fears over the introduction of traction control but admitted it will help teams end the dominance of Ferrari and McLaren in Formula One.

Button, 20, speaking at BMW Motorsport end-of-season celebration party in Austria, said he was unsure how traction control would affect him but added that the move would cancel out the work carried in his debut season in the sport with BMW-Williams.

"This year I worked a lot on my throttle control and it has got better throughout the season," said Button. "But it will be difficult now to go to traction control.

"I'm not sure how different it will be but I suppose it will be better because we will be on the same playing field."

Button will drive for Benetton-Renault in 2001, but his former Williams partner Ralf Schumacher, of Germany, said the introduction of electronic aids would bring teams closer together and would eradicate any illegalities.

Schumacher said: "I have had no experience of traction control but I say get the electronic aids back.

"Some people seem to start regularly without wheelspin I don't know how they do it. If we can all do that legally it must be better for Formula One."

BMW Motorsport director Mario Thiessen revealed that traction control was tested for the first time at Jerez this week but said that preparations for the 2001 are behind schedule.

He added that traction control will reduce the effort needed by a driver and admitted a Formula One car is capable of travelling around a circuit without a person behind the wheel.

"We have developed our own traction control system in the last month and we tested it in Jerez," said Thiessen. "Up until then we have never used it. It will take us some time to develop it further.

"At Jerez it was rough not very good, and the traction control did not give much improvement to the car.

Thiessen's fellow BMW director Gerhard Berger, who drove with Ferrari in 1993 when traction control was last permitted, believes the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) had no option but to introduce traction control because it cannot be policed.

"It's nicer to have traction control but I still feel it takes something away from the driver," Berger said. "But on the manufactures side we are convinced we can do a good job in this area and we are looking forward to working on it and using top technology.

"It has been very difficult for the FIA to control traction. It is very important everybody has the same car in this sense."

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