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How an F1 Steering Wheel works, with Fernando Alonso

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Formula 1 double world champion, Fernando Alonso as he gives us a guided tour of a Formula 1 steering wheel, and what it takes to get your head round the many buttons and configurations.

Fernando Alonso’s MCL32 Formula 1 steering wheel

1. The PCU8 screen, a standard item used by all teams. Displays multiple sources of information on request by ALO. Changes colour when coloured buttons are being used
2. Launch map toggle used by ALO for start. Car has to stay in that map until first pit stop
3. [Pink + 1 button] Used by ALO to choose further functions
4. [Blue on top right] Controls level of brake balance
5. [Green on right] Further refines torque balance under braking – adjusted for various types of corners around the lap
6. [Yellow PLS at right] Pit-lane speed-limiter. Set to 80 km/h, or at 60 km/h for some venues.
7. [Red at right] Spare button. Used for example for stopping MGU-K deployment under blue flags to save energy – aka ‘anti-overtake’
8. [Orange on right] Torque switch, used for engine braking
9. [Black Max] For different power unit modes – used for a few laps, unlike OT, which is for short bursts
10. [White + button] Used by ALO to choose further functions
11. [round dial bottom right] Multi-function – 14 switch positions provide a different functionality which is further sub-divided by the white – and + buttons
12. [Green I and Blue W] I and W turn on rain light, and tell the car it is on intermediates or wets, as different diameters impact pit speed limiter. Diff functions can also be linked to this. [Yellow Box] Box. Confirmation that the driver is coming to the pits, in the event of radio failure. [Red Punct] Puncture. Switches to settings that protect the gearbox and the differential as the car is returning to the pits. [Round control bottom centre] R switch, aka ‘Tyre’.
13. [round dial bottom left] Multi-function – 14 switch positions provide a different functionality which is further sub-divided by the pink +10 and + 1 buttons
14. [White – button] Used by ALO to choose further functions
15. [Green N] Neutral. Used coming into pits in practice, arriving at grid, when parking car, etc
16. [Silver] Additional diff control switch
17. [Black X] Accesses defaults, for example to turn off a failed sensor. Used to confirm functions
18. [Yellow OT] Overtake or ‘OT’ button. Used by ALO to adjust deployment to help with attacking or defending
19. [Red left next to OT] Differential control switch – adjust stability
20. [Yellow top left]: Raises and lowers engine deployment
21. [Pink +10 button] Used by ALO to choose further functions
22. [Grey Toggle next to triple lights on left] Radio toggle, aka ‘PTT’ or push to talk
23. [Left and right triple lights] Blue flag, yellow flag, and red flag lights in pairs, controlled by FIA. Team can also use light combinations to send messages to ALO
24. Shift lights. Five reds (in middle) and five blues (at right). ALO shifts when it turns blue. Also five greens on left for other uses

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