Enter the maze

A formula for confusion

an F1 steering wheel

If you were a Formula 1 driver twenty years ago, you only had one button on your steering wheel: for controlling the radio. Now, you would have more than twenty buttons controlling the radio, your speed, engine revs, your differential, and the fuel- air mixture your car runs on. You might even have a button that controls a drinks bottle.

As F1 drivers whiz around a track at over 200 mph, it's surprising that they would have steering wheels that are so complicated. Drivers agree it's distracting. It's a lot of extra stuff to think about, and it keeps their eyes off the road. Although steering wheels are custom-made for each driver, they can really only change the grips to fit their hands, rather than change the buttons to suit their user preferences.

It will be interesting to see whether F1 steering wheels become simpler as car designers discover human-computer interaction, or whether drivers will just have to get used to having as much to look at inside the car as outside.