Playing as an F1 driver, sitting in an armchair, with the same steering wheel as the Ferrari F1? Possible by spending 5120 euros as the same house from Maranello has put up for sale a very faithful 1: 1 scale reproduction of the steering wheel used in the race by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. A piece of the highest collection made in a limited series of 99 pieces and born from the collaboration between Amalgam (one of the largest modeling companies in the world) and Ferrari, which made available the drawings and data of the original materials and finishes.
The realism is absolute and to make this wheel it took over 1200 hours of design, while for each assembly, manual, the craftsmen need another 120 hours of work: all the buttons, switches and paddles (the levers to change gear). ) worked because every detail was developed under careful control by Ferrari F1 engineers and designers. In short, we are in front of a small masterpiece – made like the real model with 45% carbon fiber and 10% aluminum – which, not surprisingly, is sold with a dustproof transparent acrylic display case, although obviously many will not resist playing. with buttons and toggles just like Leclerc and Sainz do. And here comes the fun.
You can touch the complication of a real F1 steering wheel: in a very small space there are 29 commands including buttons, levers and levers. And untangling this labyrinth seems impossible. Even Carlos Sainz, in the video we reproduce on this page, admits that maneuvering it is a bit complicated – and even the pilot gets lost in the explanation – only to confess that once they get used to it… Okay.
Let’s say that the classic steering function is reduced to two handles because for reasons of space the upper and lower parts of the steering crown have been cut. And since the steering wheel is very direct, the driver never has to take his hands off the wheel itself. The other fundamental function is that of the gearbox which is controlled with two levers (paddle), one on the right and one on the left, to downshift or switch to a higher gear ratio.
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Then we enter the real complication. At the top left of the steering wheel there is the button to communicate directly with the boxes via radio. By regulation, all conversations take place in the clear and can be heard by other teams and even by TV, so often when the driver communicates he pretends race strategies to mislead the competition or to speak directly to the whole world (remember when Vettel sang “Azzurro” , in a radio team, in his last race in Ferrari?).
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Let’s move on to other controls: the large green button with the “N” (stands for Neutral) is used to put the car in neutral and is essential to ensure that the car can be moved by the mechanics or the race marshals. If the pilot forgets to operate it, the machine freezes like a boulder and has to be lifted. Nearby there is also the button confirming the driver’s return to the pits which sends an alarm signal to the mechanics, very important for pit stops.
Nearby then, those little wheels you see, are used to adjust the differential (one for entry into the curve and one for mid-corner), engine brake and use of the battery. While the lights on the upper part of the steering indicate the engine revolutions and are useful for always changing at the limit. Speaking of power: the rider can also modify the horsepower output. This very important button on Ferrari is the big one, with the prancing horse (a bit of brand pride is always needed) and offers different driving modes, including “box”, “race”, “push”, but the driver normally can never touch it without the consent of the team manager who makes the race strategies and consults the engineers on the site of the power unit (today’s F1 cars are hybrid, with thermal and electric engine).
Under the steering wheel, on the other hand, there is a dial that allows the driver to indicate how worn the tires are, while on the central display various information can be displayed, from possible failures to other race settings. Many of these communications are secret, varying from team to team, and although the display is framed in the race by cameras, almost all views remain mysterious and vary from team to team. In short, a great complication. Also because while the pilot extricates himself with this hell of levers, buttons and manettini he is traveling at 350 hours often engaged in duels at the last braking with other drivers.
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