1979 - 2019: Steering by Nico Hülkenberg

Steering by Nico Hülkenberg,
Formula 1 Driver

I have massive respect for the drivers who raced in that era. I can only imagine how difficult it was, not only to fight in these cars on-track, but also to manage them. In terms of components, there was no power steering back then, so strong arms were needed and I find it so impressive how they dealt with all that.

There wasn’t too much to the steering wheel either, especially compared to the modern-day steering wheel where we can have greater control of most of the car and can change a variety of settings. We have the clutch and gear levers on the wheel, but back then it was the old-fashioned ‘H’ and clutch on the foot. We have it quite easy in comparison, as executing smooth gear shifts by hand and foot and nursing the blip in between is tricky.

I’m thankful safety in Formula 1 has improved quite drastically. Nowadays, we have strong seatbelts and also the HANS device for neck protection and cars have to pass a number of crash tests. Back then, it was very limited. The cockpit was tight, the seatbelts were basic, but the drivers were very, very brave.