Amid the razzmatazz and hype of the Lotus E21 launch we were able to uncover the team’s secret weapon for 2013 – the steering wheel on their new car – in an image (above) which they must have accidentally included in their media pack.
Last year the steering wheel issue was one of Kimi Raikkonen’s complaints about the E20, apart from some discomfort the Iceman felt in the cockpit he also felt there were some redundant commands on the wheel. He thus spent the off-season developing a custom wheel which is set to revolutionise F1 cockpits. Romain Grosjean will also benefit from the sweeping changes.
The E21 steering wheel features never before used functions which are set to change the way racing and strategy takes place in modern grand prix racing. Many of the commands on the wheel remain a mystery but our in-office technical guru was able to decipher many of the steering button commands which we have listed below:
- Mute – to silence irritating race engineers from telling those who know what they are doing, how to do things.
- Ice-cream – which prompts the Lotus team’s catering boss to rush off to the media centre with lollies to have the hacks write good things about the driver who presses the button.
- Sat Nav – important new addition for a driver who may have forgotten his way around a circuit.
- Smile – to keep everyone happy.
- Tweet – in keeping with the trend to keep fans informed at all times of exactly what is going on in the cockpit.
- Cold Knob – to control the temperature in the cockpit.
- Open Gate – for drivers who go off track and find closed gates in their way.
- Translate (Anti- Mumble) – useful for drivers who mumble over the radio as function also provides instant sub titles.
- Finishing Position – allows driver to pre-determine the position he wants to end the race in.
- Nap Mode – for boring races gives a driver time for a power nap while car goes into auto-pilot.
- Jump – appears to be a secret option the exact nature of which we are yet to understand.
- Mum – gives a driver the option to instantly connects his mother’s mobile phone for a quick chat when the need arises, also, when Mum calls it glows.
- Deploy Angry Birds – useful to launch at rivals during close racing situations.
- Like – for Facebook and in keeping with the social media craze.
- Jenson – we have asked the media people at Lotus to explain what the Jenson button does…
The word is that these options will be available to both Raikkonen and Grosjean throughout grand prix weekends, not just in qualifying and races.
When pressed for more info on the other dials and gizmos on the E21 steering wheel, the team’s technical boss James Allison simply smiled and said, “That would be telling.” (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.