Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel.

Fresh intrigue surrounding part of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari

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It's no secret that Formula One racing is the world's leader of innovative motor engineering, with constant 'tweaks' and improvements to the F1 cars making them true feats of engineering.

The steering wheels are complicated things in themselves, with buttons and paddles that are absent on the conventional everyday steering wheels.

In a recent photo of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari steering wheel from the Bahrain Grand Prix, we can see the German's wheel contains an extra paddle, one that no other F1 driver has.

The mystery paddle was spotted as Vettel stopped on the grid for post-qualifying interviews after his pole position lap, with Ferrari trying to keep the paddle a secret.

Only the German's car has the paddle, not even fellow Ferrari racer Kimi Raikkonen has it in his car, and Ferrari have refused to comment on what the paddle is used for, although they have denied that it is used to alter engine map settings to help keep its exhaust blowing in corners when off-throttle.

The FIA also stated at the start of the season that they would come down hard on teams attempting to produce off-throttle blowing.

The expert's best guess, though, is that the paddle may be used to change certain settings mid-corner on either differential, engine mapping, or energy control, and it has been noticed that the paddle has a rotary sensor, allowing it to be adjusted in incremental steps, as opposed to a simple on-off switch.

Speaking on the latest episode of Motorsport show, technical analyst Craig Scarborough gave his thoughts on the paddle: "When I first noticed this, I put it away as one of those little changes, but there's something unusual about this paddle.

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"You can see there's a rotary sensor there, so it's a variable thing.

"It's not him switching something off, it's him demanding either something increasing or decreasing around the car."

Ferrari is no stranger to making small changes to the steering wheels to allow better feeling and clutch control, although the drivers sometimes revert back to previous systems should they prefer them, as Vettel did at last year's Singapore Grand Prix after a poor start and a collision with Max Verstappen.

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Topics:
Ferrari
Formula 1
Kimi Raikkonen

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