Cope with new buttons and get on with it, senior drivers say

Senior drivers Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher today told the new crop of drivers to stop complaining about the amount they will have to do behind the wheel in 2011.

The new season, which starts this weekend in Melbourne, sees a raft of new regulations and will involve the driver’s direct participation in the use of KERS and a moveable rear wing, in addition to their other tasks of adjusting the brake balance, talking to the team, working on rolling strategy and actually driving the car.

The new Pirelli tyres’ degradation will be an added distraction.

But Alonso and Schumacher are convinced that drivers will be able to cope.

“These past weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the possible difficulty of managing all the controls we have in the car, especially on the steering wheel,” Alonso said in his blog on the Ferrari website.

“Quite frankly, I don’t think there will be any problems, at least on the safety front. When all is said and done, we are professional drivers and we have to be capable of adapting to any situation. Even when it comes to running the moveable rear wing, I don’t think there will be problems.”

Schumacher agreed in a Q and A session yesterday, denying there would be a safety issue.

“Absolutely not. If you see last year people running one-handed through Eau Rouge, and the same people now complaining of safety, I think it is a much safer rear wing by now to operate. We know already! That is why you do winter testing, that is not a big factor. I think those drivers who manage to enter F1 they are the best guys around and they easily manage to push two buttons in the car!”