STEERING wheels on today’s Formula One cars are the control centre for most the car’s functions including gears, clutch, pit speed limiter, drink dispenser, brake balancer and rear wing controller to reduce drag. It even steers the car!
Today they look like game console controls on steroids, but similar to everything else in F1 they evolved from much more humble beginnings, as shown in this great new video.
The latest instalment in Donut Media’s Evolution series, which includes the Evolution of Racing Helmets, has provided an entertaining look at how steering wheels have advanced at the top of motor sport, starting with the wood-rimmed wheel that helped steer Sterling Moss to many a victory in the 1950s.
Unlike some aspects of Formula One – everything from aerodynamics to tyres, electronics and the engines – steering wheels were a bit slow to evolve. While the materials used for them changed, the simple three-spoke design saw the sport through until the 1990s when cars suddenly became more advanced.
The chronological order of the vision is matched with a soundtrack that includes engine sounds and commentary from each period and a poignant voiceover by the great Ayrton Senna, whose 1984 Momo steering wheel was surprisingly basic.
Donut Media borrowed all the steering wheels, most of which have their driver’s autographs, from the Racing Hall of Fame, that sells stuff like this.