The F1 world is bracing itself for the final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi, one that wouldn’t quite have the required drama(in terms of the title race), but will be a big deal considering the farewells on offer.
Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo will be the two most high profile farewells next weekend, and the duo would be hoping to end their Ferrari and Red Bull stints(respectively) on a high.
Abu Dhabi has given us a lot of moments to cherish in the past, but one of the highlights of Abu Dhabi came off the track, thanks to journalist Walter Koster.
In the buildup to the finale in Abu Dhabi, Walter Koster of the Saabrucker Zeitung asked one of the questions of the greatest press conference questions of all time. Brace yourself, you could be blown away.
Question: Gentlemen, a short view back to the past. Thirty years ago, Niki Lauda told us ‘take a monkey, place him into the cockpit and he is able to drive the car.’ Thirty years later, Sebastian told us ‘I had to start my car like a computer, it’s very complicated.’ And Nico Rosberg said that during the race – I don’t remember what race – he pressed the wrong button on the wheel. Question for you both: is Formula One driving today too complicated with twenty and more buttons on the wheel, are you too much under effort, under pressure? What are your wishes for the future concerning the technical programme during the race? Less buttons, more? Or less and more communication with your engineers?
Vettel did quite well actually to answer the question, saying that the current generation grew up using so many buttons.
He used the smartphone analogy to prove his point, saying that Niki could not use the smartphones of this generation very easily.
“Can you repeat the question?! Yeah, I remember the question. I think it depends all on how the monkey grows up these days. I think it’s a different generation of monkeys that Niki was talking about probably compared to monkeys we have today.” Vettel said.
“Obviously there’s a lot of buttons on the steering wheel, probably too many but I think for us, we grow up like that, it’s a different generation. I think if you put a modern phone in Niki’s hands, I’m not sure he would know what to do – sorry Niki. I think it’s what you get used to.
“For sure, when I started, for example, in Formula One, there were a lot of procedures I had to learn, a lot of buttons I needed to know how to control etc. But it’s part of cars nowadays.
“If you jump into a normal road car, there’s also plenty of buttons but in the end the most important bit is the steering wheel, turning the car left and right and the accelerator at the bottom.
“I think the basics haven’t changed and that’s the important thing, that the sport remains as it has been many many years ago despite how many buttons you have on the steering wheel.” he added.
Nico Rosberg jumped into the discussion saying that no matter how complicated stuff got for the drivers, F1 needed to make sure that things remained simple enough to understand for the fans, so as to not alienate them from the sport.
“I’ll make this a bit shorter. I think we need to just make sure that the sport stays simple for the fans, that’s the most important thing.” Rosberg said.
“The direction, it’s all great, technology fantastic, hybrid power, buttons, everything, that’s all great but we need to make sure that for the fans it stays simple enough.
“That’s something for the medium term future, that we need to keep an eye on. That’s it.” he added.
Now, while the press conference(and particularly this question) was one of the highlights of the weekend(and probably the year), a reddit user u/kibitzer_01, recreated an animated version of the same press conference question, one that has since gone viral on social media.
Check out the video:
In 2014, F1 journalist Walter Koster asked the greatest and best press conference question of all time! This is a literal animation of that question. #AbuDhabiGP #F1 #Formula1 @F1 @nico_rosberg @alo_oficial @LewisHamilton @JensonButton @HulkHulkenberg pic.twitter.com/hc7CkHCZAM
— The Circus (@Circus_F1comic) November 16, 2018
May I introduce you to the legendary Walter Koster, who again today at Abu Dhabi asked the longest but most entertaining question in the FIA press conference. pic.twitter.com/ClKllQqqkZ
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) November 23, 2017
— Paul McGinnes (@PaulMcG92) July 19, 2018