Davidson: 2011 rules tough for drivers

Formula 1 drivers will have a 'tricky' time getting their heads around complex cockpit controls in 2011 - especially when it comes to dealing with moveable rear wings and KERS

Davidson: 2011 rules tough for drivers

That is the view of former grand prix driver and current BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Anthony Davidson, who says that the number of buttons that drivers will have to operate in 2011 is going to make things very hard.

Davidson has good knowledge of the difficulties that drivers will face, having conducted early tests in Mercedes GP's simulator at its Brackley factory.

"It is going to be tricky for drivers to get their head around, and it is a bit of a one-man band [show] in the car," Davidson said on stage at the AUTOSPORT International Show.

"We saw last year with the F-duct, drivers taking their hands off the wheel to vent off the ducting. Now there is going to be a switch or button somewhere, either on the steering wheel or somewhere on the car, to do the same sort of thing [with the moveable rear wing].

"You are pretty much going to be able to use it wherever you want [in practice and qualifying] and it is going to gain you anything up to 15km/h on the straights - so there is going to be a huge discrepancy of speed."

As well as dealing with the moveable rear wing, drivers are going to have to carefully control the powering up and application of KERS - as well as their other more normal tweaks like brake balance and differential settings.

Fernando Alonso said at the Ferrari media camp last week that although he was happy the new rules would help the racing he did have concerns about the complexities of pushing so many buttons.

"I am confident that it will work, the only difficulty will be buttons on the steering wheel and a very short time you have to make some decisions, to react to buttons and still drive the car," he said.

"So in some of the cases in wet races, poor visibility, things like that, we need to check. For sure, innovations, new things in Formula 1, are always welcome. This is one of those - if everything remains as last year, we know our difficulties, our problems. As I said, all the changes are meant to improve Formula 1 sport, Formula 1 show, so I think at the moment, without trying, we need to be very open and very positive."

Davidson believes that the increased need to get things right in the cockpit will put a greater dividend on those drivers who have calm heads and the intelligence to deal with more than just driving flat-out.

"I can tell you now it is going to favour the drivers with more capacity - those drivers that are able to drive quickly but also think about all the other gizmos going on in the car.

"We saw last year that [Vitaly] Petrov chose not to run the F-duct on a track like Singapore because it was just too much. So drivers that do have more capacity and are more at home with the circuit or the car will have a huge advantage - as will those drivers who have more time in the simulators."

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett agreed with Davidson's assessment - pointing out that there had already been concerns in 2010 that the F-duct alone was giving drivers too much to do in the cockpit.

"The first time you do it in the simulator, you press the KERS button, you press the wing button, you don't change gear, you hit the limiter, you drive off the track..." said Paffett on the AUTOSPORT International main stage.

"You don't have time to do it all and you crash, basically, because you're trying to do all these things. It's very difficult.

"On top of that, you've got your brake balance to adjust, your switches to adjust. We saw Fernando [Alonso] driving with no hands last year trying to do things with the F-duct. This year it's going to be even busier than last year, and that's something they wanted to get away from by banning the F-duct."

shares
comments
Symonds keen to do more in F1

Previous article

Symonds keen to do more in F1

Next article

Paffett backs late launch decision

Paffett backs late launch decision
Load comments
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021