Traction control (TC) had been part of Formula One racing since 2002, with the FIA reluctant to outlaw the technology for fear that policing a ban would prove unworkable. However, the introduction of standardised ECUs (Electronic Control Units) for 2008 has removed that fear.
“The ban on traction control is going to make things more thrilling,” Heidfeld told his official website. “There's going to be more drifts, you will make mistakes more easily which should lead to more overtaking manoeuvres - especially when you are under pressure.”
The removal of traction control also means an end to any ‘launch control type systems that previously allowed drivers to optimise their getaways at the start of a race. Heidfeld believes that this change too could prove significant in 08.
“In the past years we had the launch control or at least some help - that is why the starts were always pretty predictable,” he said. “In the beginning Renault always had fantastic starts and after that we had very good starts. Before the return of the launch control it was easy to gain or lose positions during the start. Therefore the next season will be more interesting again.”
Heidfeld finished fifth in the 2007 driver standings, comfortably the ‘best of the rest behind the Ferrari and McLaren drivers. However, the German driver believes that the intense rivalry between the two top teams last season could play into his and BMW Saubers hands this year.
“It should be an advantage for us that Ferrari and McLaren had to give everything in order to win the title whereas we and Renault were already able to concentrate on the next year,” he added. “So theoretically things look pretty good.”
BMW Sauber finished second in the 2007 constructors championship following McLarens exclusion from the standings.