Williams' Rob Smedley considers that the current generation of Formula 1 cars are easy to drive, a fact he says which may conceal to a certain extent differences in talent between drivers.
The 42-year-old engineer, who started his F1 career with Jordan Grand Prix back in 2001 before enjoying a lengthy spell with Ferrari and then moving to Williams in 2014 as head of vehicle performance, believes that F1's technology evolution has made the cars an easier proposition from a driving point of view but has also increased the work load inside the cockpit.
"The cars are without a doubt significantly easier to drive," Smedley told F1i after season' finale in Abu Dhabi.
"But from a sporting and entertainment point of view, if the cars are too easy to drive then perhaps we don't see the difference between a very talented driver and a mediocre driver.
"The braking points are a lot earlier, cornering speeds and techniques are slower and easier respectively, so whether or not it's a good thing or a bad thing, we should ask if we are seeing the difference between the drivers that we should see."
While the physical effort or level of talent necessary to extract the most out of today's Grand Prix car may have decreased relatively, Smedley believes that this has been largely compensated by a driver's ability to manage systems behind the wheel given the extraordinary complexity of the modern power unit.
"You can just watch the in-car camera and you can see throughout the race the amount of messages the drivers get, the amount of management they have to do. So from that point of view, they are probably a little more difficult to drive."
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