- Williams have had a unique steering wheel concept for a long time.
- Leaked image reveals a new design for the steering wheel for Williams.
Until the 2023 season, almost every team in F1 had been running with an LED screen on their steering wheel. This became common as the modern Formula 1 car is so complicated that the drivers need to keep track of certain information. This LED monitor in the cockpit allows access to this information for the drivers. However, Williams went for a different approach to their steering wheel.
The Williams F1 team had their LED monitor installed directly into the cockpit of the car. It was located above the steering wheel. They were the only team to go for this approach. However, it seems as though they will not be continuing with this from the 2024 season.
Williams’ new steering wheel leaked?
As the 2024 season approaches, Williams released their car livery on February 5th. As the team maintained their primary color from last season, they decided to leave more of the carbon fiber exposed. A lot of teams seem to be following this method this year.
The exposed carbon fiber design became popular after Mercedes launched their W14 last year. The team did not add any of their own design apart from the necessities. The carbon fiber on the car was almost completely exposed. This livery was loved by many on social media.
However, the bigger shock was the new steering wheel which was leaked on social media. The steering wheel showed the monitor on the screen like the rest of the team. However, it does seem to stand out from the rest of the teams.
No more butterfly steering wheel from the stone ages for Williams, oh this is truly a new era!!😭🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/sQz938rVQX
— leo🐋 (@formuleo_) February 5, 2024
However, even after adding the LED screen on the steering wheel, Williams has managed to keep their design unique. In most of the cars, the steering wheel has a standard rectangular shape. However, in the leaked picture of the Willaims steering wheel, we can see that it has a V-shaped design allowing it to stand out from the rest of the teams.
However, this information is just from the leaked picture on social media. We will know more about the steering once the cars hit the track for pre-season testing next weekend.
Why did Vowles & Co. choose to go with the screenless steering wheels before 2024?
When the team had the monitor installed directly into the cockpit instead of the steering wheel, it gave a unique look to the steering wheel. There were rumors stating that it made the steering feel lighter for the drivers. But modern technology has made these LED screens almost weightless. Today we are seeing the cars install LED monitors on the shell of the car as well. However, the shape could have made the wheel lighter.
Without the screen on the wheel, the team was able to have a special look. It was smaller than the regular wheel of the other teams. This probably made it lighter and easier to control the car. Over the years, none of the other teams tried to implement the same design in their cars.
Striking blue 🔵
Our 2024 livery, ready to take on 24 Grands Prix across the globe 🌍
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) February 5, 2024
Although this may have made the steering lighter, it did present a new problem. In today’s F1, the data that is shown on the screen has become more and more important. This means that the drivers will have to regularly check the info on the screen.
With the LED monitor above the steering wheel, it could have made it more difficult to read the data as the distance would be more than it would have been on the steering wheel. This is probably on of the reasons the rest of the teams did not choose to replicate this design in their cars.