Skill Not Diminished By 2014 Rules Reckon Formula 1 Drivers – Well Of Course It Isn’t…
Formula 1’s new regulations for 2014 will not diminish the skill needed to make a difference behind the wheel, reckon leading figures from the sport.
The hugely complicated new turbo V6 regulations have put a premium on engine performance, with reliability already singled out as a key factor in the fight for title glory this year.
The importance of fuel economy in the new rules and the greater role of teams in deciding when and how energy recovery systems deliver their power boosts have also been cited as reasons why drivers’ roles could be minimised in 2014.
But Nico Hulkenberg is one man who thinks that the contribution of drivers should not be underestimated, and he reckons that the best ones will help their teams to progress quicker.
“As a driver there is more to learn and a lot of stuff to do,” he said. “The workload on the steering wheel will be more.
“There are also a few more tools with the ERS in terms of what you can play with, and a good flow of information is important.
“Then you need to process the information and what you learned right away. You have to have good communications with your engineers and your team in order to progress as fast as you can.”
World champion Sebastian Vettel suspects that drivers are going to have to learn to compete in a different way, which means the more adaptable stars may benefit.
“For sure there will be new elements of driving skills, and different skills generally, that you’ll have to get on top of and you’ll have to adapt,” said the Red Bull driver.
“It’s a new car, and it will feel different. Of course, if you drive it the way you drove it last year, in the race for example, you won’t see the chequered flag.
“That’s a very simple one to understand, but which way is the best? Every driver needs to find his own way.”
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost reckons that the more intelligent drivers stand to gain the most because of the extent of the changes needed this year.
“It’s not easy this year, but it’s always the same story,” he said. “The cleverer a driver is, the easier he adapts to any changes.”
It was not my intention to start the week off in a slightly cranky mood but reading this over the weekend got the best of me. Will someone please explain to me how on earth the driver will become less relevant in this new formula? How the fact current F1 drivers now will have considerably more to think about during a race means less skill will be involved behind the wheel? How, due to the new power band (the area of the revs that deliver the best tork for the exit of a given conner) a driver will not be fighting wheel spin and thus having to learn and concentrate on such an important element of their driving – if Felipe Massa is to be believed.
Was not Alain Prost called the “Professor” due to the fact he could manage his fuel consumption in such a deft way during the race that come the closing laps and the checkered flag he was victorious? Was he not a thinking man’s driver and was it not just about applying as much pressure as possible to the gas pedal, but a true skill set to drive in a way that allowed him to reach the podium on a regular basis? Is Prost’s skill set any less diminished because of the way he managed fuel economy?
Why is it that everyone thinks when new technology is coupled with speed somehow things get easier inside the cockpit? This was a common complaint during part of Michael Schumacher’s heyday at Ferrari. The continuous adding of driver aids (that is a loaded term if you ask me) was not well received by some of the purists of the sport. Schumacher defended this particular element of F1, and I think rightly so. Schumacher many times explained he was in favor of anything that allowed the driver to find as much speed as possible. To be as unencumbered as possible to find the absolute edge. Does this sound like driving got easier and is Michael’s records any less diminished because of these so called driver aids?
Think what you will about the ease or the difficulty of driving modern day F1 machinery. Then think about how many times a driver must shift during a race (it is commonly over 4000), how many times and where to harvest the batteries for the KERS system over each lap, how many times he uses the DRS system on each lap if possible, how many times the brake bias has to be adjusted, how many times the differential setting are changed, how many times the engine revs are increased or decreased, how many times an engine mapping program needs to be changed, the number of times a system needs to be rebooted while at speed, all the other things I have missed, and oh yah and I almost forgot, all this has to be done at break-neck speed racing and keeping other drivers behind, all the while trying to pass the cars in front. I rest my case.