It’s probably not hard to guess which wheel is it, or from what team is it based off, by this big prancing horse in the middle of it on this rotary dial, that, of course, being Ferrari.
And yes, this is the officially licensed Ferrari F1 steering wheel, the one used on their 2020 racing car, the SF1000. The look and design are an unmistakable representation of that wheel and nothing like the previous F1 wheel add-on which was based on the 2011 F1 car. Although this is not an exact 100% replica of it as few of the dials are missing, it’s basically the next best thing after it, which is impressively conserving it’s used in sim racing. Right of the bat, the Thrustmaster SF1000 wheel is supported by their TS-PC, T-GT, TS-XW, TX, and T300 wheelbase, so, pretty much anything newer than has Thrustmaster quick release type of wheel mounting, it’s good to go.
The wheel feels really sturdy, although it’s not that heavy. The 100% real carbon fiber front faceplate probably has a lot to do with that, while also providing that little bit of extra bling looks-wise. On the sides, we have textured rubber grips, while the back is dominated by the plastic outer housing and aluminum shifter, and clutch paddles. The shifter itself needs to be installed first, you can see her a slot with a connector on it, and the one that comes with the wheel is the magnetic push-pull paddle shifters, while you can also choose to separately get the more responsive Thrustmaster T-Chrono Paddles which also provides different feedback to it.
Thrusmaster Ferrari F1 SF1000 – Next best thing to the real one?
Moving back to the front, the top part screams with the big 4,3” screen surrounded by 15 LED’s for engine speed and 6 LED’s for marshal flags. Around and below it you’ll see a total of 11 physical buttons, with a firm click feel to each of them, so you don’t press them accidentally, one top hat D-Pad, and a total of 7 encoders, two of which are the thumb rotary dials on each side. This is where this wheel parts a bit from the original, as it doesn’t have two more pairs of those, one just below this and on right next to them.
Other than that, the layout of the switches is very true to the actual SF1000 wheel, there’s maybe one or two missing or differently labeled on the SF1000 wheel add on, while all the front-facing rotary dials are here. But, there’s a catch, not all of them are actually functional. For example, the main centerpiece, the big dial in the middle with the prancing horsey on it, doesn’t do anything, and the Phase switch on the bottom is partially functional. Thankfully, that middle dial is not completely out of order, with it, you can actually change the brightness of the screen within the wheels menu, but can’t be reprogrammed in-game. Some of them have a repeating function in terms of what’s shown on the screen. But, this is miles better than what was seen on the former F1 add-on wheel model, where instead of dummy switches we had sticker switches, which, yeah, didn’t look good to say at least.
The main start of the show are the right and left rotary switches, the E5 and E6. The left E5 switch changes so to speak main screen layout, where you at the first position have a very simplified beginner layout, then you have advanced layout, then developer mode, then Codemasters F1 2020 specific things. So, there’s a total of four of them, and after you go through them, they just repeat in the same order on the rest of the switch positions. With the right E6 switch you can toggle between different versions of each layout, again a total of four, or in case of the developer mode, go through its pages, and pressing it also changes some details or makes the screen white or dark, depending on which layout you choose.
Speaking of the screen, once you turn on the wheelbase it will loop between showing Ferrari’s and Thrustmaster’s logo, but as soon as you enter the F1 game, you’ll get the real deal. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but I quickly got the hang of it. The screen itself is reasonably bright and seems to be of a decent resolution, not super high, but definitely not unpleasant to read from feet or two. If you’re for some reason annoyed by it, you can just toggle the switch on the bottom and turn it off.
F1 native support for the Thrustmaster SF1000
Of course, all this would be useless, or at least a real pain in you know what if you would have to configure all of this manually, that’s why we have out of the box native support for the Codemasters F1 2020 games, being it PS4, PS5 or PC. Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and S also support it, but for them, you’ll need to connect wheel wireless for telemetry and have in mind that the latency will be a bit bigger in that case. This native support for the Thrustmaster SF1000 brings in a completely preconfigured mapping of buttons and switches, everything you need to have when hopping in an F1 car, from quick brake bias change, ERS mode select, MDF menu navigation, DRS activation, and so on, I’ll put a picture with a detailed overview of what’s what. Of course, there is an option to re-map all of them and a custom profile, being it in F1, Assetto Corsa Competizione, or some other sim racing game, as it acts as your usual controller.
Funnily enough, I’ve been planning to do some F1 driving for a while on my sim racing rig, and what a better way to do just that with having an F1 wheel like this, especially with the multi-functional screen which ended up only bumping my experience overall. At first, I thought that it would be a bit too much to handle, and it was, but once you get a hang of it, it becomes second nature. At some moments I almost felt like I’m really getting good with it driving-wise, changing the settings on the fly, making turns, having a good pace until this unexpected close inspection of the wall reminded me that I’m not.
Some of the dials are not that easy to reach, you need to pull your hands off the wheel, but this is something that can’t be pinned on the Thrustmaster, but rather on the engineer of the actual SF1000 wheel itself as it’s based on of it, plus usually those buttons are rarely used throughout the race, so it makes sense to put something else in fingers reach.
Should you go for gloves with Thrustmaster F1 SF1000 wheel?
The grip of the wheel leaves something to be desired, it looks like rubber, and it is, but it feels more like plastic when you grab onto it. It does provide enough grip, but it’s not that comfortable as it’s pretty firm. I don’t know what they usually use in real life, probably something similar to this, because in the end, when you think about it, they all use gloves, and I’m pretty sure that having a setup with gloves here would also help out.
As for the software and utility, we have your usual Thrustmaster control panel, nothing special to point out here, everything is pretty much the same and it’s more related to the wheelbase itself rather than the wheel, while you can enter the wheels own settings menu provided by Thrustmaster on the wheel using this left middle E5 switch just by pressing on it, and with the help of the middle E7 swiccht, as I mentioned earlier, for navigating the wheel’s menu, you can roam around few things, like the aforementioned brightness, as well as set up a WiFi connection.
As you probably saw at the beginning, the price of 350$ is a pretty substantial jump knowing that their F1 wheel-add on the model before it was priced around 200$, but comparing it and the new SF1000, It’s obvious where the price difference went and that it’s more than justifiable, especially since it will probably come down in price over time, but of course, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it in your case.
That’s it for this time, thanks for checking out this Thrustmaster SF1000 review, if you have any questions feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!