The Thrustmaster Ferrari F150 Italia wheel. Image: ThrustmasterEnlarge Photo
If you want the ultimate in F1 realism for the Sony PlayStation 3 or PC platforms, however, it’s Thrustmaster that has you covered. Newly announced is a racing wheel that virtually mirrors the ones found in the Ferrari F150 Italia F1 cars piloted by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Like the real F150 Italia steering wheel, the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 Wheel contains about as many controls as a modern fighter aircraft. Eight push buttons can be programmed for driver preferences, and dual encoder rotary dials allow you to control in-race car setup.
You also get a series of metal switches and directional pads, as well as brushed-metal paddle shifters for rapid gear changes. Wheel surfaces are covered in textured rubber to ensure a realistic feel and provide the best grip, even under adrenaline-producing race conditions.
Here’s the bad news: the Thrustmaster Ferrari F1 wheel is a stand-alone item, which requires you to own a Thrustmaster T500 RS wheel and pedal set. The Ferrari wheel has a price tag of just under $200, but the T500 RS sells for $599, meaning that the whole system will set you back a little less than $800.
That’s not exactly inexpensive, until you compare it to the cost of a a real F1 steering wheel. Those sell for around $40,000 each, making the $800 Thrustmaster combo seem downright affordable.