Williams gives Button his backing

On the eve of the his home Grand Prix, Sir Frank Williams has backed troubled British driver Jenson Button by saying it would be "extra-special" if they could win the World Championship together in the future

Williams gives Button his backing

Speaking to British national newspaper the Daily Mail, Williams said he believes Button will overcome his current problems at Benetton, and thinks it would be exceptional to win the World Championship with a driver who received his big break in F1 with the Grove-based team.

"I cannot deny that to win the World Championship once again is our prime objective - irrespective of who's driving," said Williams. "But it would be something extra-special if it happened with someone like Jenson, whom we effectively brought in, opened the F1 door to, and gave him his first car. Of course it would.

"Jenson has a fundamental talent of being very solid and gifted. He is still on course to be a great driver after the Michael Schumacher era. I promise you that."

Button is currently 'on loan' from Williams to Benetton, after Sir Frank opted to employ CART ace Juan Pablo Montoya instead, but he holds an option on the young Brit for 2003.
Jenson has yet to score a point in 2001 and has struggled in comparison to team mate Giancarlo Fisichella in the recalcitrant Benetton-Renault.

But Williams cites Ron Dennis's support for Mika Hakkinen as a prime example of reaping the benefit after not giving up on a driver just because they've hit a rough patch.

"I've always admired what Ron Dennis did with Mika Hakkinen when no-one would touch him in the early Nineties, when he was at the back of the grid and involved in so many accidents," he said. "Ron never gave up on Mika and eventually he became a double World Champion. All I'm saying is that we will have an option on Jenson Button. Watch this space."

Williams thinks the youngster will benefit from his character building experience at Benetton, after he breezed into F1 so impressively with Williams-BMW last season.

"Jenson is having a tough time but people forget these modern cars are so complicated," he said. "You have to know what to do and what not to do. Jenson is still young and relatively inexperienced. He doesn't know all the tricks but he'd beginning to understand how tough it is and will apply his mind more and more.

"He just needs time. He's had to play catch-up on Fisichella, who's been with the team for some time. The Benetton has not been competitive enough to enable Jenson to run near the front. But, like him, it has the potential to do so."

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