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Formula 1 – $50k For A Steering Wheel

I was watching an old episode of Top Gear the other day and Richard Hammond tried to drive a Renault F1 car, from 2004-2005 or so. Anyway, he mentioned how much some of the components cost and now I understand why Formula 1 is considered to be the pinnacle of motorsport racing.

The steering wheel for a 2011 F1 car costs about $50,000 so you can figure out for yourself how much money are invested every year in this competition. The wheel is made out of carbon fiber and it will unlatch in less than five seconds in case of an emergency. The weight-saving cutouts along the bottom are possible as they never turn more than 3/4ths of a circle from lock to lock.

As most of you probably know each team in F1 has an entirely different setup, but the basic layout is quite similar: the buttons and toggle switches are in charge of controlling on-off functions, including the adjustable rear wing and the engaging neutral gear. All of those dials can be used to vary brakes, clutches, differentials, engine rev limits, torque and other similar stuff.

That display located on top replays shifting point alerts as well as messages coming from the race managers. There is also a “drink” button which the drivers use to rehydrate. We’ve talked about the KERS system a few weeks ago and because it is now again allowed in the cars, there is a new button and dial back to the controls.

If you think that an F1 steering wheel is complicated, you are certainly right as even the pilots complained that sometime they have problems pushing the right buttons. When you are going at 300 km/h, it’s really hard to push the right button or switch, isn’t it?

In the end, here is a video with the steering wheel of Ferrari’s last year F1 car.

[youtube width="470" height="344"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6HFvF-QfTo[/youtube]

Source: Jalopnik

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