Here’s what every button on an F1 steering wheel does

Glancing at a modern Formula 1 race car‘s steering wheel reveals a very complex contraption, and it’s just as in-depth of a wheel as it suggests.

Mercedes-AMG, the reigning F1 champion, recently published a video with driver Valtteri Bottas to give fans a closer look at what action each button performs. Obviously, some of the finer details are shrouded in mystery since the team doesn’t want to give away any of its performance secrets. For example, Bottas shows us the “Strat” knob, which controls power mode settings during a race. The driver shares his favorite, but Mercedes-AMG comically bleeps out his selection. Sorry, Ferrari, you’ll never know.

The knob can control different modes for defending a position during a race, attacking another car for an overtake maneuver, and more.

Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 steering wheel diagram

Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 steering wheel diagram

Speaking of the knobs and buttons, they’re made the same way as aircraft knobs and buttons to prevent any accidental selections with the slip of a hand. Maxim reported in 2016 that each steering wheel also costs twice the amount of the average car sold in the U.S. at a whopping $60,000. No one said racing was cheap. The race team says in the video that each driver typically has three steering wheels with them, and each has grips molded to fit a driver’s hands exactly.

Other nifty buttons include the “PL” button, which holds the designated pit lane speed even if the driver has the accelerator mashed. Pit lane speeds vary per track, so the team must set this speed for the driver depending on the circuit. There are also the rotaries on the steering wheel, which control differential adjustments. Flicking the rotaries to different positions can change torque transfer between the rear wheels and optimize the right amount for corner entry and in the middle of a corner.

Not every team’s steering wheel looks identical, but they do feature the same components. Teams are free to design their own to suit their drivers and what they think will give them an advantage come race day.


Ford updates its Taurus sold only in China

Ford ended production of the Taurus for North America just this month, but the nameplate lives on in China where Ford’s been selling a next-generation model since 2015.

The Chinese-market Taurus is based on a stretched version of the CD4 platform found in the Fusion, as opposed to the outdated D3 platform that underpinned our Taurus, and it’s positioned as a bit of a luxury cruiser. It even offers power-reclining rear seats complete with massage function.

Photos of an updated version of the Chinese-market Taurus have now surfaced ahead of a debut at April’s Auto Shanghai 2019.

2019 Ford Taurus (Chinese spec) - Image via Sohu

2019 Ford Taurus (Chinese spec) – Image via Sohu

The photos, which were posted on Chinese website Sohu, only show the exterior of the car, revealing a new shape for the front grille and new lights at both ends. The front and rear fascias have also been redesigned.

Sohu reports that the updated car will be fitted exclusively with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 delivering 244 horsepower. The current car features the 2.0-liter engine as well as a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 325 hp. The demise of the V-6 suggests Chinese buyers aren’t seeking performance in the car, Taurus SHOs be damned.

We’ll have more details soon as the Shanghai auto show starts on April 16. Don’t get your hopes up though, as Ford has ruled out all passenger cars here bar the Mustang, meaning the latest Taurus isn’t destined for local showrooms. For more Shanghai auto show coverage, head to our dedicated hub.


Tesla’s Sentry Mode will feature location-based activation options, says Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced some new details for Sentry Mode, outlining the activation options of the newly released security feature. According to Musk, Tesla will be giving owners the choice to engage or disengage Sentry Mode depending on the vehicle’s location.

Taking cues from the Tesla community, Musk noted that Sentry Mode will have the following options: “Always,” “Exclude Home,” “Exclude Work,” “Exclude Saved Locations,” “Ask,” and “Off.” These options will make Sentry Mode far easier to use for electric car owners, especially since the feature required manual activation every time it was used when it was initially rolled out last month.

Based on Elon Musk’s tweet, Sentry Mode will give electric car owners the option of using location-based data to determine where the security feature should be activated. Such options will likely be appreciated by the Tesla community, considering that the company already utilizes location-based data for some of its vehicles’ features, including Smart Air Suspension for the Model S and Model X, and location-based auto folding mirrors for cars like the Model 3. With this system in place, Tesla owners need not worry that their vehicles will go full “Alarm” state while they are at home or at work.

Following reports of break-ins in the United States that appear to be specifically targeting the company’s electric cars, Elon Musk pledged to roll out a system that would help owners keep their vehicles safe. The result was Sentry Mode, a security system which uses the vehicles’ suite of sensors, lights, and speakers to potentially deter threats. Video feeds from the electric cars’ suite of cameras also allowed owners to take recordings of incidents around their vehicles.

Sentry Mode is a pretty robust security system that addresses a very serious issue. Nevertheless, Tesla has still managed to include some fun, pop culture references to the feature. Upon activation, Sentry Mode is represented by the glowing red “eye” of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s AI villain, HAL 9000. A loud blast of classical music also greets would-be thieves once the security feature enters its “Alarm” state.

Several improvements have already been rolled out for Sentry Mode since it was released last month. Since its initial release, Sentry Mode has become more integrated with the Tesla mobile app. Footage recorded from the vehicles’ cameras could also be sent to Tesla for temporary backup.

Tesla’s Sentry Mode will feature location-based activation options, says Musk


View Comments