Formula 1 Steering Wheel – Explained


Formula 1 Steering Wheel – Explained 

Today, I’m writing about the Formula 1 Steering Wheel and looking at it – it’s very overwhelming!

With all the buttons and functions, you can see why Formula 1 drivers have compared it to being a ‘spaceship’ but below, I’ve written about the most important features and buttons which you tend to hear about during the races.

Formula 1 Steering Wheel – Explained 

DRS – This is the Drag Reduction System. You’ll notice this in races when drivers are on the straights and especially during overtaking down the straights. Once the button is pressed by the driver, it opens / moves a piece on the rear wing of the car, this reduces drag and allows for higher speeds. Very similar to the overtake button however it doesn’t change any power aspect on the car.

Did You Know? Drivers can’t access DRS in the first two laps of a race. They also have to be within one second of the car in front of them at the start of the DRS activation zone which is indicated to the driver by a little light on the dash, as an alert and also a little beep in their earpiece. 

Brake Balance (blue switch, top right) – Drivers tend to adjust this during the race to suit their driving style and weather conditions as they change during the race. Too much rear braking will cause the car to spin – too much front braking won’t allow the driver to turn into the corners as sharply as they need to.

PLS – Pit Lane Speed. This is the button which drivers press just before entering the pit-lane so that they don’t exceed the speed limit in the pits. There’s also a pit-lane entry sign just before too.

Drink – Every Formula 1 car has a pouch filled with water (or whatever drink the driver chooses) which is connected to the driver through a tube. This tube goes through the car, connecting to the driver race suit which connects to their helmet. You can normally see the little tube on the race-suit when drivers get out of the car at the end of the race. By pressing the button, drivers can have a drink during the race ensuring that they stay hydrated.

Many drivers have said that it’s not entirely pleasant as it’s warm water or warm sugar water. 

Overtake – When the driver presses the overtake button, it provides short bursts of power allowing the driver to make a quick pass on track.

So, there we’ve covered the main features that you tend to hear about during the races but remember – there’s about 1000 different mode combinations which drivers can change to during a race so it’s a lot more complicated than you might think.

Long gone are the days when it was a car and a driver, now it’s more about the technology and I personally miss the true racing days…

This is the steering wheel for the McLaren-Honda Team, the steering wheel buttons do vary per team with things being on the opposite sides etc… 

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂


Image Courtesy of Honda Racing F1 




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