Formula 1 drivers have welcomed the impending ban on traction control. Last month, the FIA confirmed that traction control will not be allowed after 2008. Traction control was banned in 1993, however it was reinstated in 2001. This reintroduction of the ban is thought to have been made possible because of the standardisation of the ECUs across the teams, making it harder to illegally replicate traction control.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen is quoted as saying, “I think it’s going to be more fun – 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.”
Renault driver Fisichella said, “It’s going to make it more difficult for the drivers. When I first drove in Formula 1 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 slow corners.”
However David Doulthard does not believe it will make much difference, except in the wet races. “I think in dry conditions, the driver has an in-built traction control system and that won’t change,” he explained.
Nico Rosberg agreed, saying that the impact of traction control is usually over-estimated. “I think you still need to control the car yourself with the foot occasionally, so it is not going to make a huge difference.”
There is the potential for the ban to bring more overtaking into the races. As Renault’s test driver Nelson Piquet Jnr pointed out, GP2, the feeder series for F1, does not use traction control and there are usually more overtaking moves in a GP2 race than an F1 race.