The 12 Best F1 Steering Wheels in 2023
, by Alex Myastan, 25 min reading time
, by Alex Myastan, 25 min reading time
Explore 2023's top formula-style steering wheels. Dive into the nuances of design, functionality, and realism as we compare the best wheels for an authentic formula racing experience.
When venturing into the immersive world of sim racing, the sheer range of equipment options can be a little overwhelming. One integral component to focus on is the steering wheel. Drawing inspiration from the evolution of Formula 1 steering wheels could guide you in making an informed choice. Let’s embark on a journey that merges history and technology to find the right steering wheel for your sim racing setup.
As you begin your quest, consider the choices made by legendary drivers. In the early days, steering wheels were less about technology and more about matching the drivers’ physical style. Nigel Mansell preferred a smaller diameter with a thick grip, resonating with his aggressive driving style. In contrast, Ayrton Senna favoured a larger diameter wheel and a thin grip, which facilitated his precise and graceful driving technique.
When choosing your sim racing wheel, think about your driving style. Are you a forceful racer like Mansell or do you lean towards Senna’s delicate touch? Your choice here can significantly influence your sim racing experience.
As you progress to the mid-90s era, steering wheel designs underwent a technological overhaul. One major milestone was the introduction of paddle shifters, first seen in the Ferrari 640, revolutionizing gear-shifting by offering a smoother and faster transition between gears. Meanwhile, McLaren introduced customizable clutch controls, allowing drivers to personalize settings for comfort and faster reflexes.
When selecting a sim racing wheel, pay attention to these features. They not only bring authenticity to your setup but also enhance your control and response times during races.
Navigating to the modern era, steering wheels became a hub of data and personalization. Starting with Ferrari introducing a display in 1996, to the later eras where steering wheels hosted screens offering extensive data to assist drivers in monitoring various vehicle parameters, technology became a focal point. Moreover, recent years witnessed drivers adopting highly personalized setups, including unique paddle arrangements and clutch controls to suit their individual styles.
As you finalize your choice, consider steering wheels equipped with a display and customization options. These additions not only enhance your immersion but also offer a competitive edge by allowing fine-tuning to match your preferences.
In the exciting journey of selecting a sim racing steering wheel, a balanced approach—infusing the historical essence with modern technicalities—can prove to be fruitful. Take a cue from the legendary drivers, embrace the technological advancements, and carve your unique path in the sim racing world, with a steering wheel that’s a perfect amalgamation of history and technology.
To read more details about the evolution of F1 steering wheels, check out this insightful post from Giorgio Piola.
|Fanatec ClubSport F1 Esports v2||€269.95||1255g||270mm||❌||✅||Depends|
|Fanatec ClubSport Formula v2.5 X||€399.95||1250g||270mm||✅||✅||Depends|
|Cube Controls F-Core||€469.00*||895g||290mm||❌||✅||Depends|
|Asetek Forte® Formula||€546.21*||-||290/294mm||❌||✅||Depends|
|Moza FSR Formula||€699.00||-||280mm||❌||✅||Depends|
|Cube Controls F-Pro||€860.00*||1100g||282mm||❌||✅||Depends|
|P1 Eau Rouge Plus||€990.00*||-||-||❌||✅||Depends|
|Ascher-Racing F64 v3||€1,099.00||1140g||285mm||❌||✅||Depends|
|Esportsim Formula Series 3||€1,299.00*||-||317mm||✅||✅||Depends|
|GSI Formula Pro Elite||€1,549.00||1780g||310mm||❌||✅||Depends|
Note that Simplace stocks some of these products, but our prices may differ.
A note on console compatibility: For a steering wheel to be compatible with Xbox, it needs a licensed chip inside of it. However, for it to be Playstation compatible, there needs to be a chip inside the wheel base.
We have plenty of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, from a variety of manufacturers including Moza Racing, Cube Controls, Sim-Lab and more. Check out this article with tables that specify which products and brands have discounts, and how much those discounts are. It also contains some general tips for tactically approaching the Black Friday craze.
This professional-grade equipment comes with an official Formula 1™ license, designed to deliver a near-real experience with its authentic replica design. Its compact 270mm diameter facilitates quick and furious movements.
Robust by design, it is constructed with metal and adorned with genuine Alcantara® grips. Looking for customizable gear shifting control? The wheel features magnetic paddle shifters made of anodized aluminum, optimized for quick and controlled shifts.
It has 11 buttons, an analog joystick, and a 7-way FunkySwitch™. It houses twin vibration motors within the grips, offering adjustable real road feedback. Moreover, the RevLEDs offer programmable lighting cues for optimal gear shifting, while the dual FlagLEDs provide indicators for tire slip, flag warnings, and more. The vibrant blue LED display presents telemetry data, complete with tuning functions independent of the game.
This wheel comes in two options: This one, the X option, which is an official Xbox product, and €10 cheaper one that is not Xbox compatible. I’d recommend buying the X option since it just makes it easier to resell if it comes to that, and that’s only for the price of a couple of coffees. FYI, Simplace has a second-hand marketplace.
It’s crafted from durable metal and layered with carbon fibre and it boasts a compact 270mm diameter. It’s got 11 buttons and four paddles, supplemented by two 2-way toggle switches, two 12-way multi-position switches, and a 7-way FunkySwitch™.
Clearly conceived for convenient control, this product features adjustable tuning functions. You can also monitor your on-screen speed or gear via the 1-inch 128x64 white OLED display. Are you ready to unlock the potential power of this prominent product and elevate your sim racing experience to the next level?
Please note that a compatible Fanatec Wheel Base is required for operation, and some features may not be supported on Xbox consoles.
This is an excellent choice for entry-level users, boasting a magnetic connection (Q-CONN) and USB/Bluetooth dual mode. The sturdy electronics are contained within a carbon fiber front plate.
Users can also personalize their F-CORE with two shifter variants: reinforced carbon polymer for versatility, or full aluminium for precise execution.
It houses a rechargeable 2000mAh LiPo battery that supports extended use, offering up to 40 hours of operation. The integrated charging system features straightforward electronics and a back charging connector.
It has a die-cast aluminium main body, enhanced silicone and rubber handgrips, and a grip-to-grip wheel length of 290mm. On the input front it’s equipped with 12 momentary buttons, 2 on/off toggle switches, 2 front rotary encoders, 2 thumb rotary encoders, and a multi-directional joystick with an integrated encoder. The F-CORE software allows for paddle shifter calibration, clutch bite-point adjustments, and button light customization.
The Forte® Formula Steering Wheel is crafted from a high-strength, composite material and boasts a minimalist industrial design. It is remarkably stiff, utilizing an injection-molded chassis combined with a carbon-glass-plastic mixture, which allows for a rigid structure without relying on handles for strength. This means that modifications to the handles, clutches, and DRS paddles are a straightforward process.
The Forte®'s front face, a woven carbon plate, expertly displays the features your fingers yearn for: twelve push buttons, two 2-way toggle switches, and much more. Boasting no fewer than 49 customizable LEDs, including rev and flag lights, this wheel meets not only your functional needs but also your aesthetic desires.
Celebrating a seamless shift system, the Forte® Formula Wheel facilitates perfect gear changes. And last but not least, what's a wheel without a quick-release system? Practically prehistoric. Asetek has been pushing their QR system, which is an evolution of the Simucube QR system - IP that they bought. Given feedback so far, it seems their claims are well-founded.
The combined efforts of elite engineers and formula racers resulted in this masterful construct. Structure? Sturdy. Style? Sleek. Magic? Why, yes… Simagic.
The wheel, a broad 290mm, is made from a high-quality 5mm carbon fiber plate. This affords it a sturdy and rigid consistency, despite being on the heavier side. The inclusion of a custom silicone grip ensures that control under extreme conditions never wavers.
Underneath the surface lie several state-of-the-art features, all patented by Simagic. From the HALL paddle module designed for precise shifting to a soft glow LED feature capable of providing customizable, clear illumination, and twelve RGB buttons whose colours are dictated by your telemetry settings. Additional inputs include four thumb encoders, three rotary encoder buttons, and a 7-way multi-position rotary switch.
The wheel comes with Simagic’s SimPro Manager, their next-generation driver software, for further customization. Additional purchase options include the dual clutch paddles for enhanced immersion.
In the realm of formula sim racing, the FX Formula Wheel sets a swift and sturdy standard. Don’t be a muggle, be magic.
This wheel features a composite construction, encompassing a Toray carbon fiber frame and forged carbon fiber shifter paddles. The housing is made from CNC-machined aviation-grade aluminum housing, and it has a perforated leather grip. Take note of the inclusion of carbon fiber magnetic dual-clutch paddles: these are precise, programmable components that prevent mis-shifts.
It’s got a 4.3-inch digital dash which displays vital data such as speed, RPM, gears, and more through an array of 15 unique interfaces. The FSR is also equipped with ten high-brightness LEDs. Additionally, it offers added benefits with perfectly positioned controls for rapid real-time tuning.
Enjoy the advantages of dual-mode USB+Bluetooth connectivity and fully customizable RGB backlit buttons. Boasting dual joysticks and a magnetic connector, the F-PRO also features uniquely crafted magnetic, switchless shifter paddles. Designed for optimal adjustability, they offer enhanced tactile feedback, which is essential for achieving precision in performances.
It has a 100% carbon fiber front plate and a sturdy die-cast aluminum main body. Their magnetic coupling connector safeguards your steering wheel, preventing undue stress on the power cable during battery charging and USB mode racing. Additionally, their RGB buttons are highly customizable, allowing you to choose from a myriad of colour combinations.
It Incorporates 12 momentary buttons and two on/off toggle switches with status LEDs. It also has four front rotary encoders, two thumb-rotary encoders, and a further pair seamlessly integrated into the grip. It also has a multi-directional joystick with its own encoder, and there's the launch control clutch system.
Crafted from Forged Carbon and 3K Twill Carbon materials, this wheel is as sleek and sturdy as they come. Developed with input from real racers, the P1 Eau Rouge PLUS offers a sensation akin to being on a real race track.
Equipped with a 4.3-inch LCD Vocore Touchscreen, it places all essential information right at your fingertips. It has 11 backlit push buttons, 2 rotary/push encoders, and 2 twelve-position rotary switches. It also has 22 RGB LEDs, which I believe stands for Rouge-Green-Blue.
This wheel also features 2 magnetic switchless shifter paddles and 2 switchless clutch paddles, facilitating seamless shifting and optimal control. The 33mm handmade rubber grips ensure a comfortable and secure hold.
With a wheel diameter of 295mm and a 5mm Forged Carbon plate, the P1 Eau Rouge PLUS wheel showcases a compact and lightweight design without sacrificing strength or durability. The CNC-machined aluminum body guarantees a solid and reliable structure capable of withstanding the rigors of intense racing sessions.
One of the standout features of the F64 V3 is its ergonomic semi-steering wheel collar. Designed with motorsport in mind, the collar features a grippy and non-slip rubber surface, ensuring a secure grip even with sweaty hands.
The clutch paddles and shifters are machined from a high-strength aircraft aluminum alloy, making them robust and reliable. You can adjust the resistance of the paddles using the included magnets, and the clutch paddles offer precise bite-point calibration for perfect acceleration.
And it’s got a whopping 64 inputs! The two 7-way joysticks, magnetic shift paddles, and contactless clutch paddles offer precise and reliable performance. Additionally, the F64 V3 now includes radially mounted thumb encoders on the side.
The wireless version of the F64 V3 boasts an impressive 800 hours of battery runtime and can be easily recharged using the USB-C cable for a 6-hour recharge time.
Built with a carbon fiber body, this wheel offers strength, endurance, and a superior finish. No metal inserts here, just pure carbon fiber craftsmanship. For the grip, it has polyurethane rubber for durability, a light-weight feel, and a realistic grip.
With 10 dimmable backlit push-buttons, the Mayaris allows you to customize and configure them to any telemetry data you desire. It also features a multi-switch that can be rotated, pressed, and pushed in various directions like a joystick.
Equipped with a USBD480 display and RGB LEDs, you can use popular sim racing software like Simdash and Simhub, and choose the colour and function of the LEDs to suit your preferences. It's all about personalization.
And don't forget the optional extra paddles with dual action, providing quick and responsive input. Once you experience them, there's no turning back.
The Series 3 features front carbon fiber plates, which add both durability and style. Moreover, you have the option to incorporate the Professional Paddle Unit (PPU), enhancing both customization and functionality. The wheel comes with an injection-molded handle grip crafted from professional sport rubber. Its quick-release power/data connector facilitates convenient and hassle-free installation.
The device sports a 5-inch LCD display that supports Full HD resolution. It comes equipped with 12 professional buttons, including two on the rear. Additionally, it houses 21 diffused opaque LEDs, offering adjustable brightness to personalize the ambiance of your setup.
On the software front, it offers features like Brake Balance Preset and Gear Advanced Mode. Furthermore, the wheel undergoes automatic software updates, ensuring your setup remains updated with the latest advancements.
Made from sturdy materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum, this wheel promises precise inputs in the thick of racing action. This wheel also flaunts a 310mm diameter, which is on the larger side and unusual by F1 standards.
The Formula Pro Elite comes with 2 to 4 paddles in aluminum or carbon fiber construction for smooth shifting. It has 10 momentary buttons alongside 5 push-button rotary encoders. That's 15 distinct inputs for optimized racing. High resolution LCDs couple with customizable RGB LED indicators providing valuable data during sim sessions.
Power-user? This wheel's got it. Battery issues fade into the background thanks to direct power via a "Spec 3" coiled cable. With diverse connection options, you won't find yourself restricted by hardware compatibility.
The evolution of Formula 1 steering wheels showcases a blend of tradition and innovation, elements that are closely mirrored in the sim racing industry. As evidenced in our breakdown of the top twelve formula-style steering wheels available in 2023, it's clear that these wheels offer more than just an interface—they represent a confluence of technology, design, and racing history.
As you consider your options, it's worth reflecting on how each wheel encapsulates various advancements and features that have marked milestones in racing evolution. Your choice will depend on a combination of personal preference, the specific needs of your setup, and an appreciation for the technological strides embedded in each product.
Remember, in choosing a steering wheel, you're not just acquiring a tool for gaming, but a device that embodies the past, present, and future of racing, bridging the virtual and the real in a unique and engaging manner. It's an opportunity to personally engage with a hobby that is both a celebration of motorsport history and a gateway to its future developments.
We aim to create a comprehensive repository to help you make your sim racing gear decisions. Check out some of our other detailed articles:
> A Beginner's Guide to a Sim Racing Setup: This article provides an overview of your entire setup.
> Best Sim Racing Cockpits:
This article recommends the top ten cockpits for all budgets and
compares ~70% of all the cockpits on the market in a simple table.
> The Wheel Base Guide:
A comparison of every single wheel base on the market. We show the torque, platform compatibility, price and other relevant information in tables. We also have an article that analyses the value of entry-level direct drives, and one that recommends Xbox wheel bases.
> The Wheel Compatibility Guide: See the bolt patterns and QR Hubs of all the major wheel and wheel base brands.
> The Rig and Seat Guide: See the two types of rigs and the other considerations when buying one.
> The Shifter and Handbrake Guide: A comparison of every sim racing stick shifter and handbrake on the market.
> The Pedal Guide:
A comparison of all the budget and entry-level pedal sets, and the most
popular mid-range and high-end pedal sets on the market.
> How to Earn Money in Sim Racing: An overview of the various ways in which you can get income from your favourite hobby.
We also publish sim related news, like analysing the value of the Fanatec ClubSport DD, reviewing the Fanatec QR2 or looking at the latest WRC updates. You can also find articles about us, like this article about our visit to the recent ADAC Sim Racing Expo.