F1 Steering Wheel

I’m often asked for accurate F1 steering wheel Dimensions.  So I have drawn an accurate PDF drawing of a early 2000’s F1 Steering wheel.  Based on some silicone moulds I aquired, taken from the original tooling.  Although in the drawing, I’ve amended the wheel to have the mandatory MES dash module fitted.  This dash module is detailed on the McLaren Electronic Systems Website (http://www.mclarenelectronics.com/mes_pdf/Unit_DI_PCU-6D.pdf).  The PDF of the wheel is drawn at 100% scale, and fits onto a single A4 sheet, the wheel being some 291mm wide.


If you make a replica of the wheel, then please send me pictures of your finished work.

15 thoughts on “F1 Steering Wheel

    • Hey, that was me, not Andrew! 😦
      Knitter are the company that make the switches used on most F1 wheels and V8 Supercars, BTCC, etc…
      Farnell and RSComponents have both had them in stock, but don;’t appear to just now.

      LeoBodnar’s website sells them (at a heartstopping £8 a pop!), along with rotary encoders. I’m not sure what F1 teams will use for their rotaries – particularly since requirements vary massively – but again, the ones sold on leobodnar work with his products, and that’s the most important thing. No computer game supports multiple functions tied to a rotary – i.e diff maps, engine modes, front wing adjust, etc., but games do support incremental adjustment of certain parameters (brake bias, etc.)

      The rotary encoders would allow you to set clockwise and anti-clockwise rotations to bias forwards and bias rear respectively, for example.

  1. Hi Craig,

    I also measured out the dimension for the RB7. After a while of research, I found the following datas in a book of an austrian professor:
    Dimensions of Formula vehicle steering wheels: diameter between around 250mm and 285mm.
    The space (the width in fact) in the area of the steering wheel on a modern Formula 1 car is regulated. It’s around 370mm. With 291mm you have to less space for your hands to handle the steering wheel – 40mm on each side. I calculated dimensions of around 260 to 265mm. For example even the 1979 Williams FW07s Personal steering wheel had a diameter of only 250mm.


  2. This is something that I’ve always been courious about and your probably exactly the right person to ask. Why is it that Adrian Newey cars are always the only cars to mount the displays on the cockpit and never on the wheel? When he was at McLaren they were the only team to do that and now Red Bull is.

    • I don’t know that. I’m no(t) Adian Newey. Maybe a reason is, that the display stay in a straight line, when the driver turns the wheel. The wheel is also a little bit mor uncomplicated and has a less weight (but that couldn’t be the reason).

      • I have thought that perhaps it was a driver preference thing, but now that it has followed AN to Red Bull I assume that is not the case. Also, even if the display doesn’t turn with the wheel, it’s covered when the wheel turns, so I dont think it helps with visibility. Not a really big deal, but something I’ve noticed and wondered about from time to time over the years.

  3. Hi Everybody

    Does everyone know the wheel rotation of an actional F1 Car ? Is it 270° ?

    Would be nice to know for my Steering Wheel Settings in Codemasters F1 2011 (PC Game).


    • It is 320 degrees, 160 in both direction. This can be changed when the driver changes the responsiveness of the steering rack. For instance, if the track is wet the wheel can be spun a full 320 so that the wheels are less responsive so you dont spin it as easily. The steering is set at a lower turn circle so the wheels are more responsive so you can maximize the drivers reaction. So to make it clear, the wheel can be adjusted so you minimze chances of going sideways. If you try jerking your steering wheel sideways in a wet parking lot you’ll see that you go sideways very easily. You will still go sideways on dry conditions but it is more of a struggle, however F1 cars are specifically designed to not go sideways, both to maximize lap times and maintain control of the very long car on the high speed track.

  4. I am attempting to make a replica F1 steering wheel and if anyone can give my any sites that could help with parts that would be a great help. Things like switches, knobs, buttons etc

    thanks alot

    • As I said earlier, leobodnar.com is your best bet for these things. Farnell, RSComponents etc. have stocked them but don’t have them just now. Knitter are the brand of switches used by most F1 teams.

  5. Another question, Would it be possible to make f1 steering wheel with the buttons and everything (out of MDF for example) and to attach it to the base of another wheel such as a G25/G27. If so, would it be a simple case of a wire to connect the buttons up or is it more complicated than that? Would this idea work or is it too far-feched?

    I’v never opened up a wheel before to have a look so any help people have would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks 🙂

    • It’s absolutely possible! Many companies offer similar (but painfully overpriced) options.

      If you’re just adding a couple of switches to replace the original ones on the G25/G27 wheel then it’s a matter of rewiring the connectors. If you want to add rotary switches or a few more than were on there originally, you’ll need to grab one of the Leo Bodnar kits. These connect to your computer via USB and are essentially like adding another controller, keyboard etc.

      The biggest problems you will have are:

      i) A second USB connection can be hard to get behaving with the wheel. If you predominantly race touring cars and single seaters then you’re fine, but the 900 degree rotation of the G25/G27 means it can get tangled. Best bet is to get a coiled USb cable.

      ii) The original wheel is crap. It’s worth replacing it with something if you’re going to start making these mods, particularly since the thing you describe will add a bit of thickness – the stock wheel has a moderate dish (depth) so that you can grab the paddles comfortably. If you decide to replace the paddles look at chilicoke’s stuff on eBay – he makes replacement paddles, spacers etc.

      iii) The biggest concern is weight.and size. using a wheel much bigger than the stock Logitech wheel means the force feedback will feel soft and underpowered, since you have a bigger rotational arm length, reducing the force required to turn the wheel. Additionally, you need to be very careful about adding too much weight to the wheel assembly, as too much extra weight will burn out the motor. I’d go for the lightest possible wheel you can find, and keep the control panel as skinny as possible (so plastic rather than MDF). You could also look at cutting the chassis of the wheel casing to install some fans over the motors, which is a very popular mod.

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