Take a Tour of an F1 Steering Wheel with Fernando Alonso

Jessica Miley

It looks more like a game controller from a futuristic PlayStation than an F1 steering wheel. The steering wheel of an F1 racing car is the literal control centre of the car. As you can imagine an F1 steering wheel does more than just steer, it is the place to control dozens of tiny parameters of the vehicle that can be adjusted with slight taps of the fingertips.

The driver has sole control over these complicated adjustments that includes differential settings, the air-fuel mix, and the torque curve. These settings might get changed several times a lap to get the maximum performance from the highly engineered chariots. These adjustments need to be able to be made without the driver taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel, and when you are travelling at 300km/h that makes a lot of sense. 

World Champion Racer Fernando Alonso humbly takes you on a tour of the steering wheel from his 2016 championship car. There are more than 35 knobs and buttons on the carbon cased ‘wheel’, but the thing that really catches your eye is the LCD monitor sitting right in the middle. Drivers also use small paddles to shift up and down gears. These get touched as many as 4,000 times in a race. F1 Drivers are in constant communication with their technical teams via the LCD screen and in-car communication but all the adjustments to the car can only be completed by the driver. Check out all the overwhelming information in this comprehensive video.