In the late 90's/early 00's this changed to sequential gearboxes and FULL automatic gearboxes for one season, with a hand controlled clutch that was basically a button with a spring underneath it.
Finally you now have a sequential gearbox but with a computer-controlled clutch. The cars even have an anti-stall procedure where if (for example) the driver spins the car, the ECU will automatically knock the clutch out so the car doesn't stall. This is why drivers spin all over the place now and keep the engine alive. Sebastien Vettel complained about this in Sepang because his car spun in the rain and his anti-stall did not operate as it should, he thus stalled. His complaint was that if he actually had a clutch he could operate himself he wouldn't have stalled!
Semi-automatic sequential gearboxes have regulations stating a 4–7 forward gears and 1 reverse gear, using rear wheel drive. The gearbox is constructed of carbon titanium, as heat dissipation is a critical issue, and is bolted onto the back of the engine. Full automatic gearboxes, and systems such as launch control and traction control, are now illegal, to keep driver skill important in controlling the car.
So practically, the clutch(means 2 pedals one at right and other at left(both doing the same thing - act as clutch) in the back of the steering wheel under the changing gear pedals) is used only for moving off from standstill, as follows: you got to pre-set one clutch position(generally right pedal) half way to full, and the other clutch to full position(left pedal in this example) and when you want to start release as faster as you can the full clutch pedal(left pedal), and when you get some traction you release the other clutch pedal(right pedal).
The engine is linked directly to the clutch, fixed between the engine and gearbox. AP racing and Sachs produce Carbon F1 clutches which must be able to tolerate temperatures as high as 500 degrees. As i say, the clutch is electro-hydraulically operated and can weigh as little as 1.5 kg. The drivers do not manually use the clutch apart from moving off from standstill, and when changing up the gears, they simply press a lever behind the wheel to move to the next ratio. The on-board computer automatically cuts the engine, depresses the clutch and switches ratios in the blink of an eye, just about seamlessly and are only 100 mm in diameter.
F1 clutch test
high temp is 1400Cfriction response at very high energiesmore on youtube video description