A while back I was questioning my love of standards and disdain of automatics, with the support of my friends and family. I had the opportunity to test this when I got a job traveling which came with a car, a typical company car, that all I will say was an automatic, my true feelings toward that car would get be banished from the internet. I figured now was the time to test myself and my feelings. What it did was re-affirm them, I just didn't like the car doing stuff on its own.
The next test was the advent of the “touch shifter.” All it really is is a trick shifter. I had one in a rental and must admit it does satisfy my minimum requirements of a transmission of control of shifting. Torque converters aren’t that bad, all they do is use gas.
I read a newspaper article, should have kept it, that talked about this exact thing. It mentioned something like 95% of Americans have autos and 85% of Europeans have sticks. The only anomaly was the really little econo-cars had autos cause they were cheaper to make, I'm thinking maybe cause of the linkages.
How about a “smart” standard transmission? The transmission would adjust the engine speed based on shifter position, kind of like a super syncro
Re: F1 paddles. I know up-shifting the transmission will shut off the engine for a little bit to match engine speed, don’t know about down shifting. I do know the transmission is hardier to handle the shock.