My review of the Ferrari F430 USB FF Wheel

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by F1 2011 Rocks!, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. F1 2011 Rocks!

    F1 2011 Rocks!

    Note: this is my first ever wheel and I paid around £80 for it from


    OK, to start off with, I thought I'd wasted my money! I was spending more time off the track than on it - I thought I would never get the hang of it, even after altering the settings, but after a day or so, I was really getting into it and carving huge chunks out of my gamepad laptimes. So persevere with it even if you too feel like that at first, it's well worth it I assure you.

    The wheel itself looks gorgeous clamped to your desk - it's a nice size as well, so you feel as though you're using a real steering wheel and not some toy. The wheel can't be spun round and round like a real steering wheel, but that doesn't bother me at all - full lock on this wheel will get you round the hairpins, so that's all that matters.

    There is no gearstick, only flappy paddles - but for F1 2010 that's authentic - imagine driving an F1 car with a gearstick!!! Besides that, with my new desk's configuration, it would've been simply impossible to change gears - the stick would end up being too high and too far forwards, so I am not fussed at all about not having a gearstick; the flappy paddles work fine.

    The clamp is excellent - once the wheel is fitted and properly tightened, it is going nowhere, even under the extreme force that it is subjected to during a long session of DiRT 2 - and that involves a lot more rough handling than F1 2010 does. However, as others have noted, the clamp's tightening bolt will cause issues with keyboard trays. When I bought my new desk, I was worried as to whether the tray would be low enough for the wheel to even fit, never mind the tightening bolt, but all was well in the end. This is my new desk (the steering wheel is fitted to the main desk top).


    Although it was only £35, it's a solid little desk with room for everything you need. The keyboard tray was too small for my liking and meant typing involved putting the keyboard on my lap, as with the wheel in the way, typing was difficult - almost impossible. I got round that little issue by using a piece of wood from my old desk and having it made into a deeper tray - as I speak, both wheel and keyboard are in their proper places - on the desk - and typing is fine.

    OK, back to the wheel. :wink:

    It has many buttons on the face, as well as the flappy paddles, and a couple of buttons on the sides. It also has Ferrari's 'Manettino' switch, although I'm not sure what the applications for it are in F1 2010. The build quality seems solid - this feels as though it will last for a long time (hopefully).

    The pedals are great. No clutch, but I couldn't care less. The resistance of both seems just right, with the brake having considerably more resistance than the accelerator of course. However, when braking, the pedal unit will move forwards even on carpet. I got round that issue by popping it on the bottom shelf of my desk (where the scanner is in the image) and placing a box behind it - now when I brake, the unit goes nowhere, as it has nowhere to go! Like the wheel, the pedals feel as though they will stand the test of time - unlike the DFGT's pedals, they're metal and there's a decent space between them to avoid pressing the wrong one.

    The forcefeedback can be as violent, or as gentle as you wish it to be - once the drivers are installed, there are easily configured options for all the buttons, pedals and so on, as well as the settings for the forcefeedback - experiment until you find your ideal setting. I wouldn't recommend driving without forcefeedback, as the handling ends up feeling somewhat sloppy.

    This is my first wheel as I said and the difference it makes to racing games has to be experienced to be believed (I'm sure the same can be said of other decent wheels of course). Whereas with a gamepad, you have to make these little tiny adjustments with the sticks, with the wheel you can just grab it and, y'know, drive the bloody car! And with time, you will be destroying your gamepad laptimes. I ain't ever going back to playing any racing game with a gamepad!!

    I would heartily recommend the Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 USB Force Feedback wheel to anyone looking to increase their enjoyment when playing racing games - yes, there are more expensive wheels (and possibly better ones) out there, but unless you're a real hardcore racer, I would look no further than the F430 - and that's only because of the reduced turn angle of 270 degrees (as opposed to 900 plus on wheels such as the G27) and the lack of a clutch - these two omissions might put off real hardcore racers.
  2. Brian Clancy

    Brian Clancy

    Nice review and glad your enjoying it :)
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