Button can Win Title, Says de Ferran

Jenson Button has the potential to become Formula One World Champion, according to BAR's new sporting director Gil de Ferran

"I see Jenson as certainly one of the best drivers in the world today," de Ferran told reporters at Imola today. "Not only a driver with the potential to win his first race but also a potential World Championship winner."

Button is yet to score his maiden victory in Grand Prix racing, but the Briton had a strong season last year, finishing behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in the standings after scoring 11 podium finishes.

He also scored his maiden pole position at last year's San Marino Grand Prix.

De Ferran also praised Button's teammate Takuma Sato, although the 37-year-old Brazilian claimed the Japanese driver is still to fulfil his potential.

"Takuma, I think, is a very nice man and a driver also with great potential," de Ferran added.

"Last year I watched the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis and that was one of his most fantastic performances. His Formula Three record, he has won the most races in Formula Three, even more races than I did, actually, and so I guess the potential is there and it is our job to realise that."

BAR, overall runners-up to Ferrari last season, have been a disappointment in 2005 with neither of their cars finishing any of the three races so far.

Despite their poor start, however, de Ferran believes the team will be able to bounce back.

"The team is still essentially the same team that finished second in the last year and I see no reason why the team should not do it again," he said. "In the short term my plan is to observe, to listen, and to try to understand how the team operates and hopefully over time my contribution will increase.

"Coming with a fresh pair of eyes you cannot even tell that the team has had a disappointing first few races.

"Everyone in the factory, in the test team, in the race team, is extremely motivated, everyone has a very high level of motivation, very energetic, very much looking forward to the race here and it seems like that was never an issue."

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