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When watching Formula 1 races, if you pay attention you will notice that the steering wheels inside F1 racing cars are not normal at all. They have too many controls including tons of buttons, switches and levers.

During the course of a season, the F1 steering wheel can change a lot based on the driver’s feedback and the racing team’s customizations, but the system of buttons and switches will not change much, if at all. It’s just a change in layout and location.

An F1 racing steering wheel includes a screen and about 30 buttons and knobs. This button “matrix” system helps racers control everything from shifting gears, adjusting brakes or activating maximum engine performance.

Glossary of buttons on the steering wheel of an F1 racing car.
Glossary of buttons on the steering wheel of an F1 racing car.

The most used function of the F1 steering wheel is up and down gear. According to estimates, drivers shift up and down an average of 2,750 times per lap. At the Formula 1 race held in Singapore, drivers even changed gears up and down 4,270 times.

The steering wheel of an F1 racing car is made from carbon fiber, covered with anti-slip rubber and usually costs about 40,000 pounds, about 1.2 billion. A very small number compared to the price to develop and produce an F1 racing car each season, about 14 – 15 million USD.

The price of an F1 racing steering wheel is so expensive due to the production materials. Carbon fiber, a super material in the machine manufacturing industry, is light, durable, and stronger than steel. Therefore, the production cost is quite expensive.

The hardware inside the steering wheel also contributes to its high price. The steering wheel of an F1 racing car is equipped with a chip system that processes, controls, and receives signals just like a computer.

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