Schumacher, Alonso Fend Off Safety Fears in 2011
With the return of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), some drivers – the most vocal on this topic have been Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber of Red Bull – fear that the addition of two or three buttons on the steering wheel (to activate/deactivate KERS or the wing in straight line) might get drivers distracted, leading to potential accidents.
However, the drivers don't seem to be united on this particular aspect, with world champions Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso being the first to dismiss those claims. According to the 7-time world champion, world class drivers such as the ones in F1 should not have a problem dealing with some extra buttons on their steering wheel.
“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,” said the German racer. “(...) 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.”
Additionally, Alonso also admitted he is not bothered by the addition of those two devices, saying that each team has to find a way to make it more comfortable for its drivers to make use of those them.
“I don't think there is a particular problem with the new rules with the things we need to do with the steering wheel,” he said. “We are professional racing drivers and we have to work with the team to find a comfortable way to use new things.”
“If you don't have time to do all the things on the wheel you don't do it, it is not mandatory. It will take time and for us we did a lot of mileage in the winter.”