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Are Formula One cars getting too sophisticated? A handful of drivers think so... and they're beginning to speak out about the technology creep invading their vehicles. A modern F1 car utilizes aerodynamics that are adjustable on the fly and a steering wheel fitted with more buttons than Jenson's last family reunion.

Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing feels that driving his car is akin to jailbreaking a phone. The drivers need 100% of their focus on the race, and pushing a button to adjust the rear spoiler can take away from that. Weber isn't alone with these feelings as Rubens Barichello and Nico Rosberg have expressed similar sentiments.

Driving a Forumla One car is one of the most demanding jobs on the planet. It takes levels of concentration far above what the average person expands on another round of Angry Birds. Adding greater levels of sophistication and complexity sounds like it makes the already difficult task of keeping the machine on the road that much harder.

[Source: Crunch Gear]


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  • 37 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      On one hand I sympathize with the drivers, but on the other hand this is Formula One: F1 has always been at the forefront of automotive technology, & while most of these systems could easily be automated, the organizers & fans (for the most part) want the competition to remain as driver oriented as possible... so the drivers will have to learn to adapt as best as possible. The people who invest in F1 push the limits of computing power, CFD, aerodynamics, composites, metallurgy, electronic systems etc. not just because it's good advertising & it makes for good racing, but because they make a lot of their money through the real world sale & application of said technologies. A happy medium is needed, but as always it's easier said than done.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You want to solve the problem?

      You have 2 solutions:

      1. Go back to early 1989-1990 era F1: 3.5L engines, max 12 cylinders, manual gearboxes, slicks, basic computer control of the engine functions, mechanical throttle, manual steering, limited aerodynamic devices on cars. Seriously, who thinks today's cars look better than, say, McLaren's MP4/5 or Ferrari's 640/641?

      2. Go to the "peak" of F1 technology: 1993. 3.5L engines, max 12 cylinders, active suspension, power steering, power brakes, semi-automatic gearboxes (max 6 fwd gears), no moveable wings (except in the pits by a mechanic turning the end plate with a wrench or adding a Gurney flap), and limited aerodynamic devices (some of 1993's devices were aesthetically horrible). Look at the cars of that time; tell me one car today that looks cleaner and better that McLaren's MP4/8. I venture to say NO car today matches that in looks. Heck all cars of 1993 look better than today's F1.

      Pick one and stick with it. F1 was a lot of fun back then, because then we knew it was driver skill that usually won the day.

      I mean, seriously, it's F1 we are talking about. This isn't Nintendo.
        • 4 Years Ago
        but the whole appeal to F1 is that it is on the cutting edge of technology. There is allready a series that uses old technology: Indycar.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Adding greater levels of sophistication and complexity sounds like it makes the already difficult task of keeping the machine on the road that much harder." True but that is because those systems are manually actuated when they could be automated. The aero bits, suspension changes, etc. should be fully automated. Problem solved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, I'm begging to think that the FIA shouldn't be so scarred of the technology ruining the sport and making it boring: True: you may be able to make a car drive around a track very fast by itself, but you CAN'T do that if there is traffic.

        Maybe they should focus on the restrictions that they CAN police effectively, (aero) and let the engineers think up new and creative driving ads that will filter down to us on the consumer market.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lets just make the cars automated, that way we won't have to pay drivers 10's of millions of dollars and they won't have to worry about it being to hard. Some where someone is working in a coal mine getting paid nothing and isn't bitching.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Regulation inevitably leads to rote.

      What a failure of an article. Should be more clear that the cause is not technology, but regulation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      does the extra technology improve the racing... not really.

      I would suspension that can not be adjusted apart from roll bars, engine tune adjusted by radio from the pits & the new wing package is up to the driver.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would like to see some silver arrows and alpha romeo 159 racing. Those were difficult to drive and not because they had many buttons - instead they had raw power under the hood that could take the car to faster speeds than current cars can do with aerodynamics removed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's the same for all the drivers. If they don't like it or think it's too hard, then quit, somebody will gladly replace them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Michael Schumacher wins the 2011 championship in 3... 2... 1...
      • 4 Years Ago
      This sounds alot like Henri Toivonen moments before his death. B-class rally cars were abandoned after that. There are limits what human can perceive and act upon, go over that limit and accidents will happen, just like in rally in 80's. Talking old school race drivers, Fangio etc. they didn't have to push buttons, they only had to change gears...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd say jailbreaking a phone (iPhone) is easier than driving an F1 car. But i didn't do any of those things (android user over here), just basing the oppinion on what i hear...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bring back active suspension, fully automated gearboxes, launch control, traction control, 2 way telemetry, etc.
      Technology i think has gone backewards since the 1990s
        • 4 Years Ago
        When everything is automated then best car wins every race and it becomes boring.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not to mention 900hp 1.5L engines...
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a horribly written article.
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