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Mat Coch writes:
Generally a master of difficult conditions, Jenson Button believes that safety must be a paramount consideration in modern Formula One. The 2009 world champion believes that driving a Formula One car should be a challenge, believing that conditions during today's qualifying session deteriorated beyond what even the world's best drivers could handle.
Most of the complaints emanating from drivers related to aquaplaning, with cars losing traction and being pitched into uncontrollable spins leaving the driver little more than a passenger.
"When you hit a river you are completely out of control," Button explained. "You might as well close your eyes and take your hands off the steering wheel."
When conditions get too much for the tyres it makes driving a Formula One car impossible, regardless of how slowly one drives or how skilful the driver. "And that's not what F1 racing is about," Button argued. "It's about a guy trying to tame a 750 horsepower car but in conditions where he can't possibly tame it, because in this you can't. We're not in control of the situation."
In the United States it is not unusual for motor racing to play second fiddle to Mother Nature however, in European motor sport the practice is still comparatively new. But that does not mean it should be scoffed at or that it makes the current crop of drivers softer than those of the past, Button believes.
Improvements in circuit and car safety have moved the sport forward almost unrecognisably in recent years, and part of that is understanding the risks and drawing a line in the sand to mitigate those risks deemed unacceptable.
"You can say 30 years ago we probably would have raced in these conditions," said Button, "but safety's come a long way since then in terms of the circuits and the way that we view safety.
"I'm very happy that I'm racing at this moment in time," he added, "because this is correct to not run today."
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