F1's drivers have generally welcomed the impending ban on traction control. The FIA confirmed last month that the electronic driver aid will not be allowed in 2008, after it was reintroduced to formula one in 2001 following a previous ban that fell in 1993. "I think it's going to be more fun," said Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, "although for sure it's going to make it more difficult to drive over the race distance, so it's not going to always be fun."

The reintroduction of the ban is understood to have been made possible because of the standardisation of F1 cars' electronic control units (ECU), which will make it harder to illegally replicate traction control. Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella described the ban as a "good option" for the sport. "It's good to make it more difficult for the drivers," the Roman said. "When I first drove in formula one with no traction control it was more fun, more difficult because it's more in the hands of the drivers to judge the traction at the exit of the slow corners."

Veteran David Coulthard, however, played down the probable impact of the ban, insisting that the only noticeable difference might be in wet races. Indeed, it emerged recently that Super Aguri ran nearly the entire 2006 season without a traction control system -- and almost no-one knew. Coulthard, a Scot, said: "I think in dry conditions, the driver has an in-built traction control system and that won't change."

Williams' Nico Rosberg agrees that the impact of traction control is usually overestimated, arguing that with or without the system it is difficult to drive an F1 car. "I think you still need to control (the car) yourself with the foot occasionally," he said, "so it is not going to make a huge difference." But Renault test driver Nelson Piquet Jr, fresh out of GP2, observed that in F1's feeder series - where traction control is not allowed - there is usually more overtaking per race. He said "a big part" of the difference in quality between F1 and GP2 races "is the driver controlling his foot on the accelerator" on the exit of corners, leading to more mistakes and more variable tyre wear in GP2.

Source: GMM