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DECEMBER 30, 2000

Schumacher heaps praise on Button

WORLD CHAMPION Michael Schumacher has predicted a bright Formula One future for young Briton Jenson Button.

German Schumacher, who won the drivers' championship with Ferrari in October, believes 20-year-old Button will improve on his excellent debut season with BMW-Williams that saw him collect 12 championship points.

"People were critical when they heard Jenson Button was arriving in F1 without much experience," said Schumacher.

"But I was always under the impression that if someone is able to go in the car and be fast immediately and doesn't crash, then he has the talent and right to be in F1.

"He proved to be fast immediately, he didn't crash very often. He had few crashes and made very few mistakes. Simply, he is one of the future stars."

Button, who has been loaned to Benetton from BMW-Williams for the next two seasons, admitted before the start of last season that Schumacher was one of his heroes as he rose through the motor racing ranks.