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The steering wheel

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The move in Formula One from mechanical to electronic systems has been mirrored by the development of the steering wheel. No longer wheel-shaped or just for steering, the humble steering wheel now directly controls gearshift and clutch control, as well as a surprisingly wide range of other functions. The ‘wheel’ itself tends to be carbon fibre, with the grips being either suede or the more common silicone mouldings. Attached to the steering column via a quick-release mechanism,...

Managing driver comfort and heat stress

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For all the focus on developing a Formula One car to improve performance, relatively little is done to improve the driver’s physical conditions when seated in the car. Most of the allowances for the driver are as a result of safety requirements, but comfort and heat stress are equally important factors. Safety in the cockpit, aside from the fundamental function of the monocoque as a survival cell, is largely about driver restraints and fire protection. Each driver is held in place by...

Drivers’ bias towards the brakes

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Over recent years a niche solution used by a few drivers has become a standard feature on all Formula One cars – the rapid bias adjustment lever. Adjustable brake bias has been a feature of racecars and Formula One for decades, but until recently, the driver’s control of brake bias was not commonly seen as a means for improving overall lap times. Drivers have been able to adapt the braking bias from front to rear throughout the race, to compensate for changing conditions. This...