Nick Heidfeld has joined the growing ranks of Formula 1 drivers who have expressed concerns with the potential “danger” of the sport’s new rules governing the adjustable rear wing and the return of KERS.

Steering Wheel - 1994 Steering Wheel - 2011
How times change: Ferrari’s 1994-spec F1 steering wheel (left); Virgin’s 2011-spec steering wheel (right)

Already concerned if current World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who has said that trying to deal with the additional buttons on the steering wheel is comparable to texting on a mobile phone while driving. The German has not ruled out the possibility of the drivers staging a protest over these safety concerns.

And now Heidfeld is echoing his compatriot, and complained in an interview with Focus magazine: “Every year the steering wheel is getting worse and worse.”

Heidfeld, who was a former Chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, likened using the myriad of functions the modern steering wheels – which are valued at over $25,000 each – to “playing piano” in the cockpit.

“We are at the limit now,” he added, while admitting that any further addition of steering wheel functions would become “dangerous, therefore we have informed the FIA [of our concerns].”

Without putting too fine a point on it, the Grand Prix veteran expressed his concern that the “fuck-up potential is extremely high” with “another eye” watching a dashboard display in order to “more or less simultaneously” deploy the adjustable wing and KERS.

[Original images via Sutton Images & The Memorabilia Experience]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.