F1 tech: Lotus driver Romain Grosjean says steering wheel is most important kit
Lotus is team of the moment right now in Formula One. The last race, the Bahrain Grand Prix, saw both Kimi Raikonnen and Romain Grosjean, the team's drivers, finish in podium positions - second and third respectively.
Pocket-lint has been lucky enough to chat to Grosjean and Lotus F1 team principle Eric Bouillier about the technology behind the cars. And they surprised us when they explained it was the steering wheel which was the single most important piece of technology in the Lotus F1 car.
"Everything is there; downshift and upshift. If there are any problems on the car it appears there and you can try and solve things during the race," said Grosjean.
Most F1 drivers are able to fine tune pretty much any aspect of the car while they are racing, using just the steering wheel. The French driver explained to us that he may make multiple tweaks to his car in between every corner. He also pointed out that Malaysia is the toughest GP circuit when it comes to fiddling with his racer's wheel.
The wheel forms the central hub of the F1 car. It can apply a limiter to stop drivers speeding in pit lanes - thereby receiving a penalty - or call the pit radio. All engine data can be shown on an LCD display and it even hosts a set of lights to tell you when to shift gear. The cost? Up to $50,000. More impressive is the weight of all this technology: a modern F1 steering wheel weighs just 1.3 Kg.
Romain Grosjean and Eric Bouillier also explained how F1 technology - or the banning of, to be more precise - has made modern racing harder.
"We have lost traction control and we have lost engine braking systems that made it very different. We now have to put the human factor much more into the racing than before," said Grosjean.