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Everything You Need To Know About The F1 Steering Wheel Buttons and What They Do?

Here’s everything you need to know about F1 steering wheel buttons and their functions. Steering Wheels are now more electronic-centric devices and ethos the blend of engineering and racing.

Utsav Chaudhary
Last updated: 08.03.2024
F1 Steering Wheel Buttons and What They Do

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Formula 1 is the undisputed king in the motor racing world. In the realm of marvelous engineering and innovations, F1 is the pinnacle and there is nothing more satisfactory than watching the technical aspects beyond racing. Since its debut in the 1950s, F1 steering wheels have been so generic but considering today’s Gen F1 cars things might move beyond imagination. Steering Wheels are now more electronic-centric devices and ethos the blend of engineering and racing.


Well in a previous article, we covered the construction and working of the modern F1 car steering wheel and a few functions but there is more than it usually sees. Let me take you to the world of complexity and delve into the functioning and engineering behind the F1 steering wheel buttons and what actions they perform during racing. Here’s everything you need to know about F1 steering wheel buttons and their functions.


Working Of Modern F1 Cars Steering Wheel

With such complexity comes the integrity of several years of research and development before heading to the race track. Through time many changes have been seen in F1 car steering wheels from a generic pinion setup to a quick-release mechanism. The F1 car steering wheel not only allows you to steer but also controls most of the functions of the car. Different race tracks require different car configurations this is also able to be performed by the modern F1 car steering wheel.


The steering wheel's primary function in any automobile is to steer the vehicle. But when it comes to racing things got more than you think. When high-performance racing cars pass by then most of the functions are initiated through steering wheels as it is convenient for the driver and saves a lot of time while performing any actions. F1 cars' steering wheels are far more complex than a normal road car steering wheel. Till now you have just seen a basic working principle of the F1 car steering wheel but, what about the buttons? That’s more complex and requires in-depth knowledge. Alas, the following para reflects the same.

Different Buttons Of F1 Car Steering Wheels Perform Different Functions

You have already read about the construction and design of a modern F1 car steering wheel. However, a few buttons were present on the steering wheel that look so complex and perform arrays of functions. With butterfly wings construction comes some ergonomics controls such as Lights, Display, and even buttons. These features have already been covered before and if you have not read about them, I would suggest you read the link for the same below the article.


Apart from the display, and lights various other components and buttons are represented such as Multi-Down, Neutral, Start, Differential, Fuel hatch, RPM Lights, two/three rotary dials, and a radio button. Well now let's learn more about the functions performed by buttons induced on F1 cars' steering wheels.


For your better understanding, I have created a table for every button that executes different functions during racing. The following table showcases the buttons on the F1 car steering wheel with the functions they perform:


F1 Car Steering Wheel Buttons



Perform a Drag Reduction System (DRS) which opens the rear wing, reduces drag, and increases the speed on the straight

Skip 1/10 Preset

Manage to control the sensors and PU. The driver uses steps 1 and 10 through different sensors

Gearbox Neutral

Allows the car to be in neutral and stops it at a certain point

Pit Lane Speed Limiter

Set the pit lane speed limit. Even when the driver revs up the car remains at a constant set speed

Pit Confirm

Sends an automated message that the driver is coming to the pit garage for a stop or tire change.


Adjust the differential that allows the right amount of torque to transfer between rear wheels at every entry and exit of the apex

Engine Braking

Allows how much the engine slows the car when the driver is not throttling or applying brakes

Brake Balance

Change the brake balance of the car to the front or rear


Identify the point of interest in the data set by the driver


Accept the modes executed by the skip 1/10 button


Start the engine of the car

Start Mode Rotary (Dial 1)

Used to set power mode before the actual race to the power unit (PU)

Menu Rotary (Dial 2)

Sets the chassis that allows the driver to change the parameters of the car. From the menu, the map on the display is set even the brightness to

HPP Rotary (Dial 3)

Controls PU for energy management


Helps drivers communicate with the engineers in the pit garage

Paddle shift

Used as upshift or downshift the gears

LED lights

Shows the time of the perfect gear shift and even tells the condition of the car

Fuel Hatch

Electronically opens fuel hatch for refueling during pit stops (optional)


Now I hope certain things are clear regarding the basic functions and working of the complex buttons induced on the F1 car's steering wheel. A few functions also perform like setting the hybrid MGU-K as well and there is also a drink button that allows the driver to drink through a tube attached to their helmet. So if you like this information please do let us know in the comment below. Also, read the designing and construction of the modern F1 car steering wheel for a better understanding, the link for the same is shared below. If you want to know more about the realm of motorsport engineering and Formula 1, follow us for the same.


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