F1 chiefs in fresh push to get rid of 'driver aids'

Formula 1's top chiefs have made clear their desire to get 'driver aids' out of the sport, ahead of key talks later this week to move forward with a 2017 overhaul.

F1 chiefs in fresh push to get rid of 'driver aids'
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Jean Todt, FIA President
Jenson Button, McLaren Honda
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
Bernie Ecclestone
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing RB11 and Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 battle for position

The F1 Strategy Group is due to meet on Wednesday to analyse the findings from a series of meetings that have taken place recently to discuss changes to improve the spectacle.

While measures including faster cars – through bigger tyres and improved aerodynamics – should get the green light, other ideas that have been suggested like the return of refuelling are set to be dropped.

However, both FIA president Jean Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone have highlighted that one factor they want swift action on is reducing technology that is helping make the drivers' life easier.

Todt said: "All driver aids we can ban, we should do it. Although the engineers, they are smart people, so they will try to find a way to interpret that.

"If you take the start of the race [for example], when you speak to the drivers it is just a question of regulating, which I don't think is good.

"Once we had launch control which was banned, so now the drivers must be the one to lead his start; but all of it is regulated. So probably we need to get to less sophisticated technology to make sure that we have the means for less predictable starts.

"In a way, I don't have all the know how. So I need to have people to work out how to reduce as much as possible the driver aids: which is a mandate I keep giving.

"If they come back to me about what to do, I am happy to make sure that it will be introduced. So if we make a kind of list of specific parameters: to reduce driver aids, we can apply that immediately."

Drivers must show true colours

Ecclestone too is aware that the growth of technology in the sport – especially under the new hybrid regulations – means the impact of the drivers is being made less and less.

In a revealing interview with F1 rookie Max Verstappen on the official F1 website, he said that big changes were being planned to make drivers heroes again.

"To be honest, the most stupid thing that could have happened to F1 is these engines," said Ecclestone.

"These are no longer engines in fact. The batteries and hybrids and all that - that's no longer an F1 engine.

"All this chatter with the pit wall and the instructions from the engineers for the drivers – all that has to stop!

"The drivers have to be in the centre again - they have to do their race and show their true colours. I promise you Max that it will come!"

Turning dashboard off

Verstappen revealed that he was already so annoyed by the pit wall instructions and focus on managing the engines that he had started turning his steering wheel dashboard off.

"Even for us young drivers the amount of technical stuff is too much," he said. "I would say that right now only 20 percent is occupied with racing, and the vast majority of the remaining 80 percent with watching over the technical stuff. Do you know what I do to escape that?

"I tell my engineers that they should not overload me with information. We are getting way too much info in the cockpit.

"Sometimes I switch off the display in my car! I want to rely on my gut feeling. Isn't that what made great race drivers in the end?"

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