When Rubens Barrichello threw his steering wheel out of the car in Monaco on Sunday, the electronics engineers and the accountants at Williams will have screamed. Those things are packed full of incredibly complex electronics and are expensive – over £40,000 a piece!
If you want to know more, I’ve done a behind the scenes video on the secrets contained in an F1 steering wheel and now seems like the perfect time to show it.
The drivers are very busy at the wheel nowadays during a Grand Prix. In addition to the clutch and gear change functions on the back of the wheel, there are many settings to change, to trim the car and look after the tyres.
I was surprised to learn how much a driver can do by adjusting the differential. There are three separate dials to adjust its behaviour on the corner entry, the mid corner and the corner exit.
So if a car is suffering from understeer, for example, he can trim the corner entry dial to help that. It is also in use during the race as a driver tries to manage his tyre wear, particularly on the super soft tyre here in Monaco.
The video also goes into the precise steps a driver takes when preparing for a race start. I found it fascinating and I hope you will too.