What is the future for Formula One? Will it continue to attract investment in tough economic times? Where does the shift towards green technologies leave its high-octane format (a subject The Engineer will soon return to in some depth)? Whatever else changes, top level motor racing will always be underpinned by the interaction between engineers and drivers. Drivers like Adrian Sutil, who gives an insight into that relationship in an exclusive interview for The Engineer.
The Force India driver has plenty of interesting things to say about the role of technical innovation in his sport. For example, it appears that for all the huge sums spent by some teams on simulation technology your modern racing driver is likely to be found sharpening his reactions on a games console, which Sutil rates highly for its realism.
The abiding impression, however, is of the cut and thrust between a driver and his engineering team. What a combination. Highly motivated technical experts working under huge pressure at the margins of performance and ultra-competitive young men who, as Sutil confirms, regard risk as part of the very essence of their sport.
Sutil clearly respects his engineering team but you can sense the confidence that allows him to race at high speeds. The driver knows his car best of all is the message and Sutil’s reaction to the hypothetical prospect of reversing the roles and studying the data while someone else drives says it all. ‘I’d probably just spend my time telling them that I could do it better.’ Technology will change but the competitive instinct, whether in driver or engineers, will ensure that motorsport continues to fascinate.
Andrew Lee, editor