There’s without a doubt a huge gap between the cars that were at the forefront of motorsport just five or six decades ago and what we see ruling the world’s greatest circuits in the world’s greatest race – Formula One.
And without even taking the entire car – which can actually be different from one year to the other because of regulations – we can marvel at the tremendous evolution by watching how the humble steering wheel changed over the years. Back in 1957, Stirling Moss had a simple three-spoke wheel with wood in it, but today they are mostly space-ship material with a huge number of buttons and knobs. The great gearheads over at Donut Media decided to showcase the passage of time, so we have a clip that shows the massive progress engineers have made since the basic aluminum three-spoke wheel with a wood rim.
In earnest, it was back in the late 1980s when radical changes started occurring – alongside the incredible technological advancements the cars also went through. All of a sudden the steering wheel became a Christmas tree – with buttons, knobs, shift paddles and lights, hand clutch, and a digital display. The steering wheel in the 2000s gained multiple controls for engine mapping, brake bias, differential settings, radio communication, as well as for traction control, and a pit speed limiter. The most recent settings include things such as controls for the drag reduction system (DRS) on the rear wing and the energy recovery system (ERS).