Button calls for bigger cars

After Justin Wilson lost out to little Anthony Davidson as Alex Yoong's replacement at Minardi for two races, Jenson Button claims that shorter drivers have an unfair advantage in Formula One. Davidson is five foot three, whereas Wilson is a foot taller at six three and the Minardi chassis simply could not accommodate his height in line with safety regulations.

Jenson Button.
Photo by Renault F1.
Button, nearly six feet tall himself, told the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper: "I think cars should be built to accommodate drivers up to six foot three or six foot four because, at the moment, shorter drivers enjoy an unfair advantage. Shorter drivers are normally lighter and, because of the minimum weight -- where cars carry weight that can be moved about to change the centre of gravity -- they have more weight to move about to find the optimum balance."

"I feel sorry for Justin Wilson, who lost his opportunity to make his Grand Prix debut because he is too tall to conform to the safety regulations, but I know that. When I was talking to other teams before signing for BAR a few of them said 'you're very tall, it could be a problem'."

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart was also regretful that Wilson couldn't fit in the car and intends to build a bigger chassis in the future. The F1 grid consists of quite a few shorter drivers: Allan McNish, Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa are all under five feet five inches, while Jacques Villeneuve, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli and Juan Pablo Montoya could not exactly be described as tall.

At the other end of the scale, Button, David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine are head and shoulders above the rest, at least where height is concerned.