DECEMBER 11, 2000

Button wary of Raikkonen

JENSON BUTTON insisted on Monday that Formula One's latest rookie Kimi Raikkonen will struggle to find his feet in Grand Prix racing next season.

Raikkonen was granted an FIA superlicence last week despite competing in just 23 single-seater races in his career and Button admitted he would find it tough to match the Briton's stunning debut year.

"I think Kimi is a very good driver and he is definitely quick," said Button. "We have seen his potential in testing but I think he may be lacking in race experience.

"He has only raced in Formula Renault and karting and that might make it difficult for him.

"He will have no problem with speed but he may have difficulties competing on a packed grid. It is a big step-up and he will have to be careful."

German Ralf Schumacher, Button's team-mate at BMW-Williams last season, also questioned Raikkonen's ability to make a big impact.

"It is nothing to do with whether he will be dangerous but simply whether he can handle the car," Schumacher said. "I think it is quite early for him to come into Formula One, but he may prove me wrong like Jenson did."

Schumacher also urged the FIA to adopt a cautious approach on young drivers entering Grand Prix racing in the future.

"I think the FIA must decide where to draw the line on bringing drivers into Formula One or else they could soon be coming straight from karting," he said.

"We have seen that Raikkonen can handle a car in testing but it will be different for him in a race. My main concern is that if it all goes wrong for him it may ruin his career."