Home Technical Analysis Tech debrief: Mercedes steering wheel

Tech debrief: Mercedes steering wheel

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You could be mistaken for thinking that the steering wheels used by team mates are identical, although it couldn’t be further from the truth. The shape of the wheel is generally the same but ergonomically they’re very different, with many of the paddles, switches and buttons positioned to suit the requirements of the individual driver.

In the case of the Mercedes drivers there are numerous differences between each steering wheel, as we can see below:

www.sutton-images.com Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid steering wheel at Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday 14 April 2016.

www.sutton-images.com Mercedes AMG F1 W06 steering wheel detail at Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday 14 November 2015.

No Type Rosberg Hamilton
1 Single push button OT – Overtake, settings are turned to maximum for a short deployment time DRS
2 Single push button BB- Brake balance reduction +10 Scrolls through the LCD screen, 10 pages at a time (100 pages of information available)
3 Single push button N – Neutral N – Neutral
4 Single push button Radio – Allows the driver to communicate with the pitwall. PL – Sets the pitlane speed limiter
5 Single push button BB+ Brake balance increase +1 – Scrolls through the LCD screen, 1 page at a time.  (100 pages of information available)
6 Single push button DRS PC – Pit confirm, which allows the driver to communicate back to the pitlane without a verbal communication
7 Thumb rotary MID – Changes the differential settings during the middle of a corner HI SPEED – Changes the differential settings in high speed corners
8 Rotary EB – Fine tunes the brake balance BB FWD – Fine tunes the brake balance
9 Single push button +1 – Scrolls through the LCD screen, 1 page at a time.  (100 pages of information available) BB+ Brake balance increase
10 Thumb rotary ENTRY – Changes the differential settings during corner entry INIT – Makes smaller incremental changes to the differential settings being changed on other thumb rotaries
11 Single push button LIMITER – Sets the pitlane speed limiter TALK – Radio
12 Single push button PC/R – Pit confirm, which allows the driver to communicate back to the pitlane without a verbal communication RS – RS mode, used during a race start or whilst in the pit-lane, changes the pedal map to a default
13 Multi-function rotary HPP – More precise control of the engine settings HPP – More precise control of the engine settings
14 Multi-function rotary Adjusts all sorts of chassis settings and sensors, such as the tyre currently being used by the driver. Adjusts all sorts of chassis settings and sensors, such as the tyre currently being used by the driver.
15 Multi-function rotary STRAT – Changes engine mode, for instance STRAT Mode 3 is generally used during a race, STRAT 4 for qualifying etc.  These are baseline settings that can be fine tuned with other setting changes. STRAT – Changes engine mode, for instance STRAT Mode 3 is generally used during a race, STRAT 4 for qualifying etc.  These are baseline settings that can be fine tuned with other setting changes.
16 Single push button MARK – Places a mark on the drivers telemetry sheet for assessment later with the engineers MARK – Places a mark on the drivers telemetry sheet for assessment later with the engineers
17 Single push button DEF – Actual use not divulged X – Actual use not divulged
18 Thumb rotary HI SPEED – Changes the differential settings in high speed corners MID – Changes the differential settings during the middle of a corner
19 Single push button +10 Scrolls through the LCD screen, 10 pages at a time (100 pages of information available) BB- Brake balance reduction
20 Rotary BMIG – Changes how much energy is being harvested by the ERS BMIG – Changes how much energy is being harvested by the ERS
21 Thumb rotary FINE – Makes smaller incremental changes to the differential settings being changed on other thumb rotaries ENTRY – Changes the differential settings during corner entry
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On the rear of each drivers wheel we find further differences, with the gear shift and clutch paddles shaped differently to suit their needs. You’ll note that Hamilton prefers a much narrower but longer downshift paddle, whilst Nico favours a similar configuration on either side (highlighted in green). You’ll also note that the clutch paddles differ slightly too, as both clearly have a different grip on the wheel whilst operating them. It should be noted under the changes made by the FIA ahead of the 2016 season only one clutch paddle can be operated whilst the car moves off. Whilst Ferrari made immediate changes to their wheel design, Mercedes have yet to make structural changes, although it is likely one of the paddles has been disabled.

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