Check Out All 21 Switches on the Mercedes-AMG F1 Steering Wheel

Think you can learn all the functions on an F1 steering wheel and then execute them at 200 mph?

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

June 7, 2021

10 Slides

The steering wheel of a modern Formula 1 race car is more complex than even the most complicated video game controller and the driver not only needs to learn the functions of all the controls but also must be able to select the correct settings on the fly during races.

Mercedes-AMG F1 driver Valtteri Bottas and his senior race engineer, Riccardo Musconi, have gone through the controls on the Mercedes F1 car to help us understand their functions. (1).gif

"There are many things on the steering wheel that corner-by-corner we are changing, in terms of brake bias," Bottas explained. "We have a bit of radio communication with the team."

They've also provided us the helpful diagram above. So while the "Talk" button is self-explanatory, and the green "N" button is pretty easily guessed to select Neutral in the transmission, other functions aren't quite as obvious. 

"PL" is the pit lane speed limiting button, so that's not too hard, and "PC" turns out to mean "Pit Confirm." This is the driver's indication of understanding that it is time to bring the car into the pits on this lap.

Others are a little more esoteric. "Mark" lets the driver put a mark on the car's continuous recording of data from its sensors. If the driver has noticed something unusual happening, marking the data helps the engineers locate when the anomaly occurred for easier diagnosis.

Related:This F1 Crash Wasn't Supposed to Happen

Click through the slide show to hear about the other buttons, and also see where this year's steering wheel varies slightly from the controls of the diagram above, which describes the steering wheel from the 2018 season.

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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