F1 steering wheel too complicated: 'Surprise mistakes don't happen more often'

09-06-2021 19:56 | Updated: 09-06-2021 21:25
by GPblog.com
F1 News
F1 steering wheel too complicated: 'Surprise mistakes don't happen more often'

Lewis Hamilton missed out on victory in Baku by accidentally pressing the wrong button and thereby changing the brake balance of his car. As a result, the Mercedes driver missed the corner completely.

Big problem

According to Gary Anderson, Hamilton's situation exposes the fault of the Formula One steering wheel. " The fact that a driver can so easily accidentally hit something that basically guarantees that he's going to go off is a big problem," the former engineer writes in his column for The Race. "Imagine if that had been someone in the middle of the field, or if it was a corner with no run-off lane? That could cause a serious accident involving several cars."

That one button press has so many consequences is a serious safety issue, according to Anderson. "A look at the Mercedes steering wheel shows an amazing number of switches, dials and paddles - more than twenty by my count - so if anything it's a surprise this kind of error doesn't happen more often."

Dangerous situations

It's not the first time this season that the steering wheel has led to dangerous situations. "Just think of Kimi Raikkonen hitting the back of Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi at the end of the first lap of the Portuguese Grand Prix when he was focused on the steering wheel settings," Anderson cites as an example.

As a result, Anderson is calling for a simpler steering wheel. "It's illegal to use your mobile phone while driving a car, but the FIA thinks it's safe enough to allow a driver to play with all those buttons on the steering wheel while driving at an obtuse speed. It strikes me as a bit odd."

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