Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Demands on a Driver

Read some interesting comments today from Ferrari's Felipe Massa on the amount of work drivers have to do in the cockpit during a race.

Apart from the wheel and the pedals, there's a plethora of switches to constantly adjust during the course of the lap. These allow changes to be made to the way the car behaves for different parts of the circuit -- and all this adds up to extra performance.

But there are signs that things may be going a little bit too far. This year sees the addition of the moveable rear wing and the reintroduction of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System.

Massa told Reuters: "It's true we have so many things to do on the steering wheel and it's also true we still need to drive the car."

"For sure we can do it but from a driver point of view it's not fantastic. Everywhere you go you have three, four buttons to press, especially with KERS.

"It's going to be too much definitely but it's like that and we need to adapt very quickly."

And Massa's been working on the wheel for 2011 since mid 2010. When I tried out the full Williams F1 simulator in November, I was amazed at the number of switches and adjustments that could be made from the wheel.

I spoke to Sir Frank Williams about this last year and he was sure that more buttons and switches wouldn't affect drivers because if it meant extra performance they'd much prefer to have them. It'll nevertheless be interesting to see how this season pans out with regards to driver workload in the cockpit.

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