Watch F1 steering wheels evolve from simple to sophisticated
28 November 2016 - Autoblog
Formula 1 cars are some of the most complicated machines on the planet.
The sport thrives on being the most competitive and technically advanced form of racing, and while the debate rages on about strict restrictions stifling innovation and dumbing down the racing, it still takes great talent and concentration to get behind the wheel. To get an idea of how far the sport has advanced and how complicated today's cars are, look no further than the evolution of the F1 steering wheel.
This new video from Donut Media shows the transition from a traditional wood and aluminum wheel to today's squared-off, lightweight "wheels" with enough buttons to rival the controls for the Saturn V rocket. Surprisingly enough, F1 steering wheels didn't change much from the 1950s through the 1980s. It wasn't until the late eighties and the start of active suspension and semi-automatic transmissions that steering-wheel design started to morph into what we have today. Even then, it was another decade until buttons and knobs became ubiquitous.
Donut Media borrowed the impressive collection of steering wheels from the Racing Hall of Fame. The group has amassed a huge array of authentic parts, from racing suits to turbochargers. The collection spans far past F1, so click through and don't blame us if you decide you can't live without a Michael Schumacher autographed airbox.