F1 Steering Wheel
A Formula 1 steering wheel is quite complex these days. What does such a wheel look like and what are all the buttons for? You will find out on this page.
How does a Formula 1 steering wheel work?
Of course, the main function of a Formula 1 steering wheel is simply to steer. Besides just steering, there are numerous buttons to adjust various settings of the car, not to mention the gearshift paddles. But how does a Formula 1 steering wheel work and what are all the buttons for?
The buttons on a Formula 1 steering wheel have different functions: from communicating with the pits to adjusting the brake balance. Another part you often see the Formula 1 driver doing on the wheel as a viewer is flipping open the rear wing in the DRS zone.
The articles below feature videos that further explain the Formula 1 steering wheel:
When looking at a Formula 1 wheel as a layman, it is easy to get lost in the amount of buttons and links. Carlos Sainz takes you through the video in this article, explaining what everything means on the wheel of his Ferrari.
Mercedes has also made a video about the Formula 1 steering wheel. Evan Short, trackside Electronics Leader at Mercedes, takes a closer look at Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 steering wheel.
On the steering wheel's screen alone, for example, drivers get a lot of important information. This includes what the Power Unit is doing, information from the pits, lights indicating when a driver needs to change gear and all kinds of other information needed to control the car. He also says that all important buttons on a Formula 1 steering wheel should be within reach of the driver's thumbs, so that the wheel can be operated easily and quickly. Curious about the complete explanation? Then watch the video below
Did you know...?
Did you know that the drivers are involved in designing the steering wheel from the very beginning? Both where the buttons go on the wheel, but also the shape of the wheel. Of course, it is very important for a driver to be able to hold the wheel properly.
Besides all the functions on the front of the wheel, the back of the wheel is also important. On the back you will find the clutch and gearshift paddles of the Formula 1 car. The clutch is used at the start of a Formula 1 race to move away from standstill when the lights go out. With the right gearshift paddle, the driver shifts up and with the left gearshift paddle, the driver shifts down. This is also the part of the Formula 1 steering wheel most often used.
Why does a Formula 1 driver remove the steering wheel from the car after a race?
As a viewer, you have probably noticed that the F1 driver takes the steering wheel out of the car after the race. This is made so that the driver can easily get out of the car.
What is the price of a Formula 1 steering wheel?
Because of the many functions found on the F1 wheel, it is not cheap to develop such a wheel. In fact, the price to produce a Formula 1 steering wheel can reach around $100,000.
Evolution of the F1 steering wheel over the years
The Formula 1 steering wheel looks very modern and technical today, but in the early years it had only one function: steering. In the early years of Formula 1, the cars did not have power steering, so the driver had to use a lot of force to steer. This was later introduced, making steering a lot more comfortable. Switch paddles were also introduced then, making it easier for the Formula 1 driver to change gears compared to the traditional gear lever. You can see exactly how that evolution happened in the video below.
Special F1 steering wheels
Formula 1 continues to evolve and so do Formula 1 handlebars. In history, there have been a number of unusual and/or notable steering wheels.
Mercedes DAS system
Mercedes has also put an innovative development on the Formula 1 steering wheel in the past, namely the DAS system. This stands for Dual Axis Steering and allowed the driver to adjust the position of the front wheels, by moving the steering wheel forward or backward. This would ensure better tyre warm-up and less wear. This system was eventually banned as it was outside the technical regulations of Formula 1.
Williams Formula 1 steering wheel
You may have noticed once that Williams has a slightly different Formula 1 steering wheel compared to the other teams. In fact, on the other teams, the LCD screen is built into the steering wheel, but this is not the case with Williams. The LCD screen is attached to the chassis. Also, the shape of the Williams wheel is different from the other wheels. The Williams wheel has a 'butterfly shape', as they call it themselves.