BMW Motorsport boss Gerhard Berger has spoken in defense of Jenson Button, saying the chance for victory for him is not over yet. Button was hailed as a rookie sensation in his debut year with Williams in 2000, coming 8th in the Driver's standings with 12 points. But the 21 year old Englishman had a rough ride with Benetton this season, managing to score only 2 points at Hockenheim. Consistently out-qualified by team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, Button struggled to find a set up that suited him although the last few races of the season showed a marked improvement. Many have written him off, believing unless he can beat new team mate Jarno Trulli at Renualt next year there will be no race seat available for him. With Renault apparently grooming Fernando Alonso for a seat in 2003, Button's future may be looking less than rosy with either Renault, or with Williams, whom he hoped to return to in 2003.

Berger believes that despite Button's poor 2001 season, there is hope for him yet. "If both our current drivers (Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya) continue to perform as well as they have been and it stays like that, then certainly it is going to be difficult for Jenson, Berger said. "But I like him a lot, he is a really great guy and he is quick. No doubt about that.

"What he showed in our team last year, he won’t lose. It is there still, I'm sure, but at the moment it is not being activated.

"The chance of victories in F1 racing is not over for him. The problem right now may be his private life, maybe it is the team atmosphere, maybe it is the car.

"The guy is good, but how good he really is we don’t know. All I know is he is better than he shows at the moment."