- Decent replica of a Ferrari F1 wheel
- Added immersion when using it
- Added rotary dials for in-game use
- Good ergonomics
- Cheap materials throughout
- Buttons and shifters are poor
- Not great hand grips
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Design
As with most of our reviews, we’ll start with the unboxing and first impressions. When you first open the box the wheel itself is packaged in a lot of Styrofoam to ensure no damage is dealt in transit.
Other than that, there isn’t too much to write home about. There isn’t the same level of packaging quality as you get with other brands such as Fanatec.
so, what exactly is the Ferrari F1 wheel add-on? Well, if your current racing wheel setup is leaving a lot to be desired, then this Ferrari F1 wheel add-on for Thrustmaster wheels has you covered.
This Thrustmaster steering wheel is a full sized replica of the Ferrari racing wheel from the 2011 season. The same design used by Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari 150º Italia.
If the idea of owning a full sized Ferrari F1 wheel hasn’t got you just a little bit excited inside, then this might not be the wheel for you. For us as life long Formula 1 fans, this is an extremely cool wheel add-on.
The classic Ferrari design is made entirely possible thanks to Thrustmaster and Ferrari’s partnership that has been on going for a few years.
Launched back in 2011, this steering wheel is relatively cheap for an add-on, coming in at only $170-$200.
It offers Thrustmaster sim racers a wheel with a lot more buttons and options. Compared to regular Thrustmaster wheels which generally include only the normal game pad buttons, this is a big step up.
Do all of the dials on the wheel work?
Unfortunately, a lot of the dials on the front of the wheel are only for show including the large center dial. These are primarily included so that it matches its real world counterpart. It would be great to see these working, but there are so many of them that to be honest, we would run out of things to actually program in!
There is a good selection of dials which do actually work. And these can be used to control engine modes among other programmable functions.
The working dials are the two thumb encoders. These allow to adjust the car settings without taking your hands off the wheel, which is a crucial inclusion when travelling at speeds of up to 200mph.
There are also a couple of d-pad like analogue sticks which can be used to control menu inputs. Again, this is handy so you don’t require a mouse or a gamepad to control the menus. In total all of the buttons add up to a total of 19 map-able inputs excluding the paddle shifters.
The great news is, that all buttons and dials are quite easily in reach without having to take your hands off the wheel. There are a couple, including the toggles at the bottom of the wheel which are just out of reach, but this is OK. I mean, if it was good enough for Alonso, it’s good enough for us.
The face of the wheel itself is finished in a authentic brushed metal, which looks great, and elevates the quality of this wheel. However, that is quickly negated by the cheap plastic that is found across the top and back of the wheel.
This plastic is limited to only a few areas, but they do remind you that this is very much just a replica wheel. Other formula style wheels such as those by Fanatec, despite costing a lot more do offer a much better level of finish.
To get started using this Ferrari F1 wheel rim, you have to do a little bit of work. You have to unscrew the quick-release system that you’ll find at the back of your current wheel rim. Then simply turn the release mechanism until your current wheel comes away from the base.
Simply attach your Ferrari F1 rim, and repeat the same process in reverse to lock the new rim in place. And you’ll be good to go. It’s not an overly quick, quick-release system. But it does the job.
Once you have completed the obligatory firmware updates, you’ll be good to jump in to your favorite game.
This style of wheel rim is really best suited towards formula style cars or GT cars. You shouldn’t really use it for games which have a large steering lock, as you simply shouldn’t be taking your hands off the rim. It simply isn’t designed for that style of racing.
One nice feature that we did really appreciate was the push / pull paddle shifters. These allow you to change gears with one hand, which in certain situations works well. It takes a little getting used to but we feel it’s a nice inclusion.
We have tested this wheel rim across a good number of years sim racing. And it has spent most of its time in Assetto Corsa Competizione and the F1 game series. It is very well suited to these games, as the steering lock is generally low, and the amount of programmable buttons works well in these styles of cars.
How does the Ferrari F1 wheel add-on feel on track?
The ergonomics of this racing wheel are extremely good. That’s not entirely surprising for a wheel which was designed for real F1 drivers.
The shape of the wheel in your hand is excellent, and it is just the right size. It gives great control of your car, and the force feedback feels positive when using a T500 wheel base.
The performance of the wheel is solid and the force feedback comes through nicely using this rim. We couldn’t notice too much discernible difference in the quality or strength of force feedback compared to the standard T500 rim. So, solid all round.
The grips themselves feel good, although we only tested them wearing gloves, so we’re unsure exactly how they will feel during a long session while racing bareback.
When holding it in our hands, the rubber doesn’t feel overly high quality, and we’d think it could become slippery or sticky if your hands sweat a little. Solution, wear racing gloves, although we know this isn’t everyone’s preference.
The thickness of the grips is nice, allowing you to get a good grip of the wheel itself. I can imagine those sim racers with larger hands may find them a little on the thin side though.
Unlike many racing wheels and steering wheels, this Thrustmaster wheel add-on is a breath of fresh air. It is completely compatible with all current consoles and PC. And we know it will be compatible with the Xbox Series X.
It only works on a few Thrustmaster wheel bases however, including the T300, T500 and TX. Meaning there are a few wheel bases that this wheel wont attach to. Luckily the wheel bases it does work with cover the majority of Thrustmaster racers.
Does the Ferrari F1 wheel help you drive faster?
I wouldn’t say that this wheel add-on makes us faster in general. It does however, bring another dimension to Thrustmaster wheels. If up until now, you have only been using the default T300 or T500 wheel rim, you will be pleasantly surprised by the Ferrari wheel add-on.
It brings a lot of new functionality including a lot of dials which can transform the way you interact with your car during a race session. These streamlined functions could in theory help you concentrate more on the road, and less on taking your hand off the wheel to make changes.
Is the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 wheel worth buying?
The Ferrari F1 wheel add on for Thrustmaster wheels is overall a decent wheel for the price. And we need to remember that this is a relatively well priced wheel add-on.
There are a few faux-pars such as poor quality materials in a few places, and the button quality isn’t great. Thrustmaster opted for stickers on the buttons rather than physical button caps, and these look cheap.
The buttons themselves also don’t perform that positively. They don’t have an overly nice click sensation, and you have to push them a fair way to activate them.
Having said all that, we are aware that most of the downsides of this wheel are due to keeping the cost for us down. And we appreciate that. Would we have rather paid $100 more to get a higher quality wheel? Possibly. But I can understand why Thrustmaster chose the lower cost route.
Overall, this wheel add-on does improve your interaction with your racing sim. And it looks great. Any Ferrari fan will appreciate it. We would recommend picking it up, as it is an improvement over the standard Thrustmaster wheels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this wheel compatible with all consoles?
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 add-on is compatible with all consoles, including PC.
What wheel bases can I use this Ferrari wheel with?
This wheel add-on is compatible with Thrustmaster T300, T500 and TX wheel bases across all consoles.
Do the dials control elements such as ERS and fuel mix in F1 2019?
The dials which do work, in particular the thumb dials, can be programmed to control your fuel mix mode and other in-game functions in the F1 game series.