Today's Formula 1 steering wheels are highly complex and prone to errors in comparison to the past. Even in the early 90's the steering wheels only had a single button or a switch.
Now a days the standard formula steering wheel has over 20 different buttons and switches, and when you are traveling at 300 km/h it can be very easy to press the wrong button.
"I had to start my car like a computer, it's very complicated. " - Sebastian Vettel F1 World Champion (2014)
Technically speaking, there are 9 different steering wheels in Formula 1 since Red Bull and Alpha-Tauri share the same design given the same ownership, but its a total of 10 distinct wheels. In this section, I analyze 2 top teams steering wheels, and their different characteristics, and grade them on their level of complexity.
Ferrari's steering wheel is constructed of the following elements
6 rotary switches
6 rotary wheels
10 buttons & 2 switches
Given Mercedes only has 6 rotary switches, making it harder for drivers to achieve certain functions during the race, although they have fewer buttons, they receive a score of 4.6 / 5.
Mercedes' steering wheel is constructed of the following elements
3 rotary switches
6 rotary wheels
Given Mercedes only has 3 rotary switches, and replaced the other functions with extra rotary wheels, making it more accessible for the driver to use without having to take a hand off the wheel, they receive a score of 4.2 / 5.
After going over different sketch models, I started 3D modeling the first prototype to bring my designs to the physical world. After a couple of 3D sketches, I finalized my first 3D render of the steering wheel.
After a couple of 3D sketches, I finalized my first physical prototype. This prototype's buttons don't actually move, they are there just to represent the way they look in the steering wheel.
For the second prototype, I wanted to make a newly shaped steering wheel, with interactive buttons, to give the user a more realistic sense of what the steering wheel feels like. At this point, I am still in the modeling stage, but pretty soon I will have a physical prototype.