While we wait in anticipation for the 2021 F1 season to begin in March, let's take a closer look at the 2019 Mercedes F1 steering wheel with driver, Valtteri Bottas.
The drivers aren't simply there to drive the cars, they're also heavily involved with the design and functionality of the steering wheel.
The buttons and switches on the steering wheel are quite robust so that they can withstand the vibration and accidents. Interestingly, they are the same switches and buttons used on planes. Valtteri Bottas gives us the lowdown on the steering wheel he used in the 2019 Formula 1 Championship.
The Strat mode rotary is used for a number of power mode settings during the race.
The PL button is vital when it comes to the cars driving in the pit lane. Even if the driver goes full throttle, the PL button holds the pit lane speed limit.
Each steering wheel's handles are custom made to suit the driver for optimum feel, feedback and control. The rubber moulds are made with the individual driver's hands so that the fit is absolutely perfect.
When a new season starts, both Mercedes drivers get three steering wheels each. One is their primary wheel, the other one is the back up wheel, and then the third one is there to test new technology that might be in the making.
The Talk button on the steering wheel allows the driver to communicate with the crew back in the pit.
There are three rotaries for speed. They're used for differential adjustment at different phases of a corner. The three rotaries are for entry, mid and hi-speed options.
The neutral button is only selectable via a push button on the front of the wheel. If you hold it in long enough, it also doubles up as the reverse button.
To us it looks complicated and confusing, but also intriguing and fascinating. According to Bottas, you get used to it pretty soon.
"If you have a first look it might look complex, but with practice… I know it by heart."
Watch the Mercedes video below as Bottas explains how the 2019 F1 steering wheel works.
Image credit: F1 Fansite