Steering wheel and manettino
In the quest to improve aerodynamics, designers have drastically reduced the cockpit dimensions of their Formula 1 cars. Along with the size restrictions imposed by the new driver safety requirements, the space that could formerly be allocated to an instrument panel has virtually ceased to exist.
In 1996 Ferrari introduced a striking innovation. Other car manufacturers had cut away the top of the steering wheel to give the driver a clear view of his instruments, whereas Ferrari simply put the most important warning lights in the top rim of the steering wheel itself. They then continued to wire further operating buttons to the steering wheel, within easy reach of the driver.
By 1997 more key features had been added to the Ferrari Formula 1 steering wheel, including digital water, pressure and fuel tank gauges. And now the steering wheel has become a computer in its own right, displaying and storing timing data over full laps or sections of the track, providing the driver with instant feedback on his performance.
In 2004 the F430 became the first Ferrari road car to benefit from the F1 steering wheel-mounted manettino. Just as in Formula 1, drivers can change the set-up of their car and quickly and simply control the electronics governing suspension settings, the Control of Stability (CST) and traction control, E-Diff and the change speed of the F1 transmission, as well as the integration between each of these individual functions. The manettino enables car settings to be changed to suit the personal preferences of the driver, road surface conditions and available grip.