Ranked: All 10 steering wheel designs on the F1 2023 grid

Sam Cooper

Steering wheels play a far bigger role than just steering these days.

While there are plenty of serious discussions to be had about F1, we thought we would discuss something a little less serious – steering wheels.

F1 steering wheels have come a long way from the sport’s early days. No longer are they simply pieces of wood but now they are an integral part of a drivers’ equipment and not just from a steering sense.

You may be thinking, a wheel is a wheel right? But that’s where you would be wrong so allow us to present the current F1 steering wheels ranked.

10.) Williams

Sorry to the boys and girls at Grove but the Williams steering wheel is coming in at a distant last. In fairness to them, they have gone for a different approach with the screen not embedded to the wheel itself.

Williams have previously said this is to make the wheel lighter and therefore require less effort from the driver but it isn’t half ugly.

Looking like a cheap knock-off of the kind of device Luke Skywalker used to plot his X-wing, it looks like it has been dropped and creates a massive divot at the top of it.

9.) Alpine

The first thing you think when you look at Alpine’s steering wheel is ‘why is it so small?’

The Alpine design is by far the roundest of all the current competitors but it looks incredibly tight together, meaning the drivers’ hands are much closer together than in other teams.

The size of it makes it look like someone put it in a microwave and has melted it around the edges.

8.) Aston Martin

Plenty of dials on this one and pleasingly, plenty of colours. There is not much that makes this wheel distinctly Aston Martin aside from their green colour scheme on the strat dial so it is only worthy of a middle of the road placement.

But in terms of design and getting the job done, it is a solid B.

7.) McLaren

Of al the steering wheels, this is perhaps the one that most resembles an Xbox or PlayStation controller, perhaps due to the button labelled ‘X’ next to the left hand.

The McLaren wheel also has two latches which play an important role for the driver. On the right hand side is the launch which, as it suggests, helps with the start while on the left is the latch to allow the driver to speak to the pit team.

A handy feature at the back is also a toggle which allows you to pre-set a bunch of changes meaning that if you are hurtling at somewhere like Eau Rouge, you do not have to be changing multiple settings as you approach it.

=6/5 Red Bull and AlphaTauri

Buttons? Who needs buttons? Whereas Ferrari’s and Mercedes’ wheels are packed to the brim with things to change, Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s are rather more relaxed. The minimal buttons down each side look as if someone has dropped a bag of smarties on it while the actual shape of the wheel itself for some reason resembles a Space Invader.

It is a wheel that has hardly changed over the years with the middle console having toggles for the tyres, strat, engine, display and mode.

There are also a few toggles upon each thumb meaning Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez can easily make in-race adjustments.

The best touch is the DRS button not actually being a button but instead a flap at the back of the wheel alongside the shifter and clutch.

AlphaTauri are included in this entry as, unlike other customer teams, their wheel is identical.

4.) Haas

Like we will see with Ferrari later on, it is a very similar design with plenty of dials and plenty of buttons all around it.

Haas borrow plenty from the Ferrari car and it seems they take the wheel too with the pair looking almost identical. But Ferrari’s colour scheme and iconic logo gives it the edge. Take nothing away from Haas’ though as their logo in the centre is a nice but subtle touch.

3.) Alfa Romeo

For a long time, Alfa Romeo also borrowed the Ferrari design but that changed this year as Sauber appeared to take things in house.

Design wise, it is worthy of a podium finish with the colours being particularly pleasing to look at. The blue and white left dial is a notable highlight and there is something satisfying about the A B C D modes.

Whatever reason Alfa had for designing their own, we are big fans.

2.) Mercedes

Appearance wise, the Mercedes wheel looks like one of the longest on the grid. It is the usual rectangle shape but has a bend at the top but not overdoing it like the Williams’ one.

Colour scheme wise, the light green of Mercedes features in the bottom right and it is also a wheel with plenty of hidden buttons and tricks located on it.

This most famously came into play during the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix when following a red flag restart, Hamilton accidently pushed the ‘brake magic’ button which sends the brake bias much further forward. Under normal circumstances, this allows the driers to warm up their tyres but during a race, it has disastrous consequences with Hamilton locking up as he went into Turn 1 and handing Perez the victory.

The Mercedes steering wheel is also one of the most innovative and this came to the forefront in 2020. Hamilton and Bottas were spotted pulling the wheel towards them as they approached the corners and engaged what Mercedes called Dual Axis Steering or DAS for short. This allowed the driver to change the alignment of the front wheel and heat it more evenly.

This being F1, the innovation was quickly protested and banned.

1.) Ferrari

Shape wise, it is off to a good start with the elongated rectangle that so many teams use but it is the colour scheme that makes Ferrari’s wheel the best. Bright colours featuring plenty of the team’s distinctive yellow all over are finished off with one of the most recognisable logos in the world in the middle.

Maybe it’s something about the amount of yellow to feature on it but for some reason, the Ferrari wheel also looks like one of the most technical on the grid.

Perhaps this is why it is one of the most popular designs for people who have their own racing setup at home, albeit with less buttons, but by F1 standards, it is a clear winner.

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