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Schumacher welcomes delay

London: Ferrari’s world champion Michael Schumacher has welcomed Formula One’s decision to delay a ban on so-called ‘driver aids’ until next year.

“I have never hidden my opinion about electronic aids,” the Italian team’s website quoted the five-time champion as saying ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I like them because they give the driver the possibility to fully exploit the potential of the car and you don’t have to compromise anything.

“I think that it is reasonable that the ban has been put back to next season.

“Simply, it is better to be able to prepare yourself for the new system in good time — at the end of the day, the new regulations were introduced with the aim of saving money. And with this postponement, that objective is surely more realisable,” said the German.

The FIA announced last week that systems such as traction control, launch control and fully-automatic gearboxes could remain until the start of next season.

A ban had been scheduled to come into force from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 20.

Schumacher, who has failed to finish on the podium in two races so far this year in the worst start of his career, alsomade it clear that he preferred the tried and old system of qualifying.

A new single lap format, devised to liven up the sport and cut costs after a year of overwhelming Ferrari domination and dwindling television audiences, has been introduced this year.

“Personally, I preferred the old way; maybe because I grew up with that system,” Schumacher said.

“The younger drivers who know only this new qualifying style will perhaps see things in a completely different way. I will race, anyway, under whatever rules they decide.”

Charity match

Meanwhile, Schumacher will limber up for Sunday by joining local soccer champions Santos in a charity kickabout.

The team’s website said he will take part in a training session with the Brazilian club on Wednesday. The proceeds will go to a UNICEF project.

“I can’t wait to play with them. I really have fun playing with professionals because I can learn so much,” said Schumacher.

Schumacher, who plays regularly with a local team in Switzerland, is a big soccer fan and frequently turns out for a game in the week before a race.

Two years ago he played a charity game with Brazilian striker Ronaldo at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.

Schumacher and his Ferrari team are yet to chalk out a victory in the on-going season.

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