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F1 cars steering wheel design and functionality

Let us delve into the science and engineering behind the F1 Cars steering wheel and how they work. We have covered every aspect from design to the resonating technology behind it.

Utsav Chaudhary
Last updated: 02.03.2024
F1 cars steering wheel design

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Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport racing. These modern F1 cars have been integrated with the latest technology and innovations that have undergone various changes through generations. Each car segment has a complex array of technical aspects that dive into the making of a track-focused machine. This implies the steering wheels of such F1 cars. We have already discussed the brakes and the suspension of the Formula 1 drive. But what about the steering wheels? Well, it just slotted behind the halo of the F1 cars and centered with innovative ergonomics.


The F1 steering wheel is similar to the road cars but its function is more than just operated by a rack and pinion steering rack. Moreover, they do have some buttons integrated into it. But what do they perform? Let us delve into the science and engineering behind the F1 Cars steering wheel and how they work during the race weekend. We will try to cover every aspect from design to the resonating technology behind it.



The Design Of F1 Steering Wheel

The F1 car steering wheel not only performs the basic integrity of turning but also controls the onboard actions and diagnosis of a car during the race. When looking at the steering wheel, the design seems contrary to the more rectangular or butterfly-shaped structure. Why was this design taken into the making? Well, the reason is because of the visibility and ample space for the ergonomic controls induced on the steering wheel. No other design structure would be so vulnerable as the butterfly-shaped wings.


They are mainly made from carbon fiber which provides incredible strength and are light in weight so that they can maintain dignity in handling and provide smooth feedback to the driver. Taking a closer look you may see various buttons attached to the F1 steering wheels. This set of buttons performs various functions during the race and allows communication between a driver and the engineers working behind the pit of a racing car at the garage. So let’s delve into the different components used in F1 cars' steering wheels.


  • Display - One major component induced on the F1 car's steering wheel is the display. This display is an OLED display that shows information up to 100 pages under a 7-inch screen in one go. Drivers can see the ongoing data with real-time speed and lap timing of the performance. Even they can see the performance, battery, and energy status of the car.

  • Lights - Above the display a relay of lights is presented on the wheel. This light is used to address the gear shift indicating the ongoing action performed by the Rev-Limiter.

  • Buttons - Several buttons have been made for different actions that are essential during the race week. It connects the car and the driver to the pit crews and engineers working in the garage.


F1 Steering Wheel Parts explained
F1 Steering Wheel Parts explained

The Working Of The F1 Cars Steering Wheel

The importance of buttons on the F1 cars is essential as they perform different actions depending upon the situation during the race. Different race peculiarities brought different actions performed by the buttons. Some important buttons are placed just below the display. These are the Neutral Buttons, the DRS Button, and the X Button that helps to receive the message from the chief engineers and the pit crew.


The other part of the steering wheel has three different rotary thumb dials or you may call it a switch that allows the racer or the driver to change the driving mode of the car during a sudden incident or crash. 

These 6 dials are accompanied by 3 sets of pairs which are as follows -


  • Entry And Exit Thumb Dial - The entry and exit rotary thumb dials are used to regulate or sabotage the differential settings of the racing F1 cars. This action can be seen when a driver takes a sharp turn while entering or exiting the apex of the track. This setting is very essential to maintain the perfect balance of the car without affecting the aerodynamic aids


  • Multi-Functional Thumb Dial - They are again divided into 3 sets of functions depending upon the necessity of the driver’s racing preferences. The first is the start that allows to rev up the car and controls the ERS system. The second thumb dial is used to control the differential, Brake-By-Wire, and the status of the tire degradation during the race.


  • HPP Thumb Dial - This is the thumb dial that controls the performance of the car. This dial allows the driver to control the optimum potential of the F1 V6 hybrid engine and push the car to its limits. The HPP stands for the High-performance powertrain.


Now comes the last and most important function of the steering wheel which allows the driver to perform the racing under safety standards.


Break Balance Thumb Dial

The Break Balance thumb dial allows the car to break at high cornering. The driver sometimes faces difficulties in interacting with the different buttons while driving in the fast lane, and it may get worse on the tracks with bumpy surfaces.

Moreover, there’s a lot to tell and a lot to discuss about the steering wheel of an F1 car. Some other paddles induced on the racing wheels allow much more complexity and if you want to know more about it, tell us in the comment below. Also, follow us for more updates regarding the technological aspects of the Formula1 motoring world.

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