Yes, the newer automatic transmissions shift based on an electric signal, typically from the computer. The F1 cars simply use driver input on a switch. The newer Benz automatics can be shifted up or down by the driver by moving the lever. The computers do all sorts of things, and the electrical input allows the shift control to be on the steering wheel, on the floor, or you could put a switch somewhere to be actuated by your nose if you wanted to.
AS I SAID BEFORE, I DON'T CARE! I want a clutch and a shifter. I ENJOY using the clutch and shifting the transmission. If I do say so myself, I am very good at it. I have had people make comments like; "wow, this car shifts smooth, I wouldn't mind driving a stick that shifts this smooth". To this I tell them that with a manual, it's the driver that makes it smooth. I take a lot of pride in my stick shift ability. A few of the guys at the office claim that I am the "Stick Shift Master", I eat that up. Typically when someone enjoys doing something, they are good at it. I'm good at it because I enjoy it.
I've had people say, "well you drive on the highway mostly so I guess it's okay". No, driving on the highway doesn't offer any opportunities to shift. They say "well what if you get in traffic?" I say THAT'S GREAT then I get a chance to shift.
Add to that the expense of an automatic, the frequent maintenance of an automatic, and the pain in the A$$ everytime you have to work on a car with an automatic, and I DON'T WANT ONE.
I LOVE MY STICK SHIFT CARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!