The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On is a specialized racing wheel rim designed to be used with the company’s T500, T300, and TX racing wheel series. This officially licensed wheel is a full-size replica of the Formula 1 Ferrari 2011 racing wheel, solidifying its status a collector’s item in addition to the the functional appeal it possesses – which we will discuss in great detail today. That being said, let’s take an in-depth look at the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel and see where it stands amongst the competition.
What to Consider Before Buying an F1 Racing Wheel Rim
F1 wheel rims, also known as open steering wheels, were originally designed with the intent of providing better grip and control for vehicles that have a need for tight control, yet prevent the need for hand over hand rotation. Formula One racing is the most common sight for such steering wheels, hence the nomenclature; in this use-case, the wheels feature one-turn rotation locks and typically have rotation angles that do not exceed 320 degrees.
This is in stark contrast to the common full, round steering wheel rims seen in most consumer motor vehicles in addition to other forms of racing such as GT; as such, we typically refer to these standard steering wheels as “GT” in the context on sim racing and associated peripherals.
Most sim racing wheel bases feature adjustable rotation angles that allow for range to be locked from 270 degrees or lower, to 900 degrees or even higher; facilitating customization in this regard means that the racing fan can easily emulate the feel of driving a wide range of cars, and the ability to swap wheel rims means that your racing wheel setup can closely emulate the F1 driving experience by adding an F1 wheel rim.
Considering all of the above, as well as the fact that the vast majority of wheel bases ship with standard GT rims, it’s easy to see why Formula One enthusiast would want to purchase an F1 rim for use with their existing wheel base.
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On’s marketing and website leave no doubt that this is an authentic Ferrari-licensed replica wheel, and its limited production ensure that it makes a great gift or collector’s item. Despite the fact that many who purchase this steering wheel will have it as a keepsake rather than actually use it, it is purpose built and loaded with features for those who want to experience it on the virtual track.
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On is explicitly designed for use with Thrustmaster wheel bases in the T500, T300, and TX series, and collectors may find it looks especially well adjusted when paired with to the company’s TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition or T300 Ferrari Integral Alcantara Edition.
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On is more than just a pretty face though!
Features & Benefits
The The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-On is loaded with practical and a luxury features alike that will make it awfully tempting to anyone attempting to keep it boxed-up:
Formula One racing wheels are decidedly less versatile that GT wheels, but that is quite understandable as they are designed for specialized use. Unless you intend to exclusively drive F1 games and sims, you’ll appreciate that this Thrustmaster F1 wheel uses their quick release system so that you can swap your racing wheel setup on the fly with ease.
As this Thrustmaster F1 wheel is designed for use with a wide range of wheel bases, it must also adapt to the needs of all sorts of racing games across all platforms including Xbox One, PS4, PC and the new-gen systems. To accommodate, the steering wheel features eight dual detent push-buttons, three 3-position metal switches with wheel re-centering, two high pressure 8-directional D-pads, a pair of F1 (push & pull style) paddle shifters and even two encoder rotary knobs to adjust car settings mid-race.
As is often the case with Thrustmaster products – and as one might expect from anything emblazoned with Ferrari F1 branding, this wheel is made of good-looking, high quality materials. The wheel is made primarily of metal, including the facing which has a premium looking scratched-brushed finish; the grips are made of a dense and grippy rubber that feels grippy and durable in the hand. Perhaps the biggest giveaway that we’re dealing with durable materials here is the fact that this wheel weighs over 12 pounds!
Licensing and replication don’t mean an awful lot unless the source material or intellectual property is taken seriously, thankfully, Thrustmaster have made good on their promise to create a full sized replica of Ferrari’s 150th Italia racing wheel from 2011. That being said, this is not a 1:1 replica of the wheel used by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in the 2011 Formula One Championship.
The primary discrepancies between the Thrustmaster product and the genuine article are the replacement of carbon fiber with metal on the face, the removal of the LED display and inclusion of d-pads. Still, these changes allow for the wheel to strike a balance between painstaking attention to detail and cost control measures – as is evident by the fact that non-functional replicas of the actual wheel sell for $2,245 – considerably higher than the $179 MSRP Thrustmaster asks for their product!
While we would not go so far as to call this Thrustmaster product an heirloom or high-end collector’s item, it surely is something that Ferrari fans would appreciate to own as a part of their memorabilia collection.
There are of course a plethora or racing wheels out there competing for your consideration, and we think that there are a few in particular that represent especially compelling alternatives to the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel:
Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer Sparco P310
For a similarly authentic – but more versatile racing wheel – we recommend the Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer Sparco P310. The wheel rim here features an aggressive oblong posturing that evokes the F1 silhouette but it not open, allowing for better control in non-Formula One racing sims. The brushless servomotor in the wheel’s base provides powerful force feedback that eclipses any of the wheels compatible with the Ferrari F1 steering wheel add on. This wheel is a great alternative for gamers on PC and Xbox consoles.
Fanatec CSL Elite F1
If you’re after an authentic F1 experience more so than you’re a Ferrari lover, Fanatec’s CSL Elite F1 wheel is officially licensed by F1 and is considered to be among the best wheels out there by professional drivers and eSports pros alike. While the included pedal set leaves a bit to be desired due to lacking a third pedal, the optional add-on allows for load cell braking that surpasses anything else on the market. If you don’t mind spending a bit more in pursuit of a more optimal F1 setup, the Fanatec CSL Elite F1 wheel is a great alternative for PC and PlayStation gamers. Note that Xbox gamers can get in on the action as well, but will need to spend quite a bit more in order to get an add-on wheel rim.
Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1
If you’ll spare no expense in pursuit of Formula One racing perfection in the comfort of your own home, look no further than the Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1. This F1 licensed wheel has next level features such as wireless data and power transfer, carbon fiber shifter paddles and a ridiculously powerful direct drive motor. All of this tech comes at a high asking price, and you’ll have to purchase pedals separately. Still, this one is the easiest to recommend for PlayStation and PC gamers who aren’t on a budget. As with the other Fanatec CSL Elite F1, Xbox gamers can come along for this ride if they’re willing to shell out some extra cash for a compatible wheel rim.
The Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel is a great steering wheel for fans of Ferrari F1 or anyone who simply wants to get a more authentic F1 racing experience from their Thrustmaster wheel.
While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend overlooking the alternative products listed above in favor of this one (unless you already own a compatible wheel base) the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel is nonetheless an authentic, handsome and robust steering wheel that is worth a look.
At the end of the day, we think this Ferrari F1 wheel is worthy of your consideration and if you find it tempting – go ahead and give it a shot!
Last Updated on January 23, 2021