DECEMBER 8, 2000
Drivers divided after traction control is given green light
Italian Jarno Trulli of Jordan said the decision would give teams a chance to close the gap on Ferrari and McLaren but David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello warned against the pit-falls of the introduction of electronic aids.
Trulli said he felt that driver aids will help end the top two teams' supremacy but admitted that the overall package, rather then just traction control, would be needed to do so. He cites the aerodynamic aspect of Formula One cars as key to closing the gap.
"It will bring other teams closer to the top two," said Trulli. "But it will not just take traction control. We need to look at the whole package, and in particular the aerodynamics, will make a big difference to the sport."
Briton Coulthard and Ferrari's Brazilian Rubens Barrichello expressed fears about the danger of introducing traction control, which has been banned since 1993, and said it could reduce the sport to a farce.
"I think traction control is potentially dangerous," McLaren driver Coulthard said. "What you are doing is making a maneuver where you are not entirely sure where the car is in your mirrors.
"You are forcing the car to take evasive action, which is not in the rules. I can't understand why this is happening.
"My views on traction control are mine and not the teams. I could be way off on this and it could be not what other drivers think, but with semi-automatic gearboxes and traction control we are likely to have processional races."
Barrichello backed Coulthard's thoughts but added that for smaller teams to close the gap on Ferrari and McLaren, electronic aids were the only answer.
"I think that traction control will not be good for pure driving," said Barrichello. "That is what I like and it is one of the most enjoyable parts. It will be a shame when it happens.
"But saying that there are a lot of people who believe that some teams are already using traction control and I am all for equality. It is important for the cars to be similar and I would like to see all the cars the same.
"To do that, if we have to have traction control, that is the way it has to be."
The FIA said on Friday that electronic aids could be re-admitted into Formula One as early as the Spanish Grand Prix in April. The decision was made after the World Motor Sport Council met in Monaco.
The FIA confirmed that the Technical Working Group arm of motorsport's world governing body has been requested to recommend a package of new safety measures to be discussed at a further meeting on February 14.
If the recommendations are agreed, unrestricted electronic aids could be introduced ten weeks later at the Barcelona race.