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Do teams use simulators to evaluate drivers?


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#1 tkulla

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 14:13

I was thinking about how Ferrari essentially "passed" on Sergio Perez this year, opening the door for him to join McLaren. At the time Felipe Massa was performing very poorly in the second Ferrari and I couldn't understand why they wouldn't prevent McLaren from acquiring him, which they could have done by offering him the 2nd Ferrari seat next year. I'm sure Perez would have taken it, even though it would mean slotting in as a definite #2 rather than having an equal chance at McLaren.

Perhaps the team understood Felipe's issues and were confident they could turn it around.

But maybe they just don't see Perez as a being extra special, based on the data they have on him. As part of their young drivers academy they should have plenty of actual car data, as well data from their F1 simulator.

This got me thinking. A simulator as a driver evaluation tool is interesting. It removes a lot of the variables that must be accounted for during a test - you could do a true multi-driver "shootout" under the exact same (simulated) conditions. You could modify the setup of the car to test their adaptability as well.

But are the simulators a reliable enough tool for this kind of evaluation? I know some drivers can't use them (notably Kimi and Schumi) so that's one problem. How accurate are they (I'm sure this year they weren't that accurate since they didn't understand the Pirelli tyres very well)?

Surely they can be used to test and develop a driver's technical feedback and knowledge. But does the data they provide reveal talent?

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#2 MP422

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 14:19

I think they use it as a tool to learn about drivers but i don't see a current F1 driver going under this sort of scrutiny when it's visible during the GP weekend. The pass on Perez by Ferrari was not because the reasons they publicly stated i believe, Mclaren signed him up therefore i believe it was more Fernando opposing the decision. Young talented drivers have something to prove.

#3 Szoelloe

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 14:34

Simply put: No they do not.(IMHO) There are 2 sims out there that are custom made for the respective owners, maybe thre, though I am not sure about that. There are another few of them that are near to that level. But I would say they are mostly development tools, no matter how advanced and high-tech they are. Saying that, some aspects or attributes of a driver may be evaluated on advanced sims, but I hardly think that performance in the sim could be a deciding factor in the hiring of a driver. It can help a driver to get used to a specific design, and can be learning tool too, of course. But basically, it is the closest thing to substitute testing. So the more advanced the sim is, the better substitution it is, IMHO.


#4 prty

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 15:09

http://www.youtube.c...DVGtXJ4#t=1m35s

"You can see straight away the ones who are going to make it"

Edited by prty, 16 December 2012 - 15:10.


#5 Szoelloe

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 15:18

http://www.youtube.c...DVGtXJ4#t=1m35s

"You can see straight away the ones who are going to make it"


"especially when you see F1 drivers come in here. They are often straight on the pace"


#6 LiJu914

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 16:09

Okay, i held some world records in GPL once (maybe i still do, dunno).

So should i apply for a seat? :cat:

#7 Szoelloe

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 16:20

Okay, i held some world records in GPL once (maybe i still do, dunno).

So should i apply for a seat? :cat:



Well, we are getting close to the era when you should, yes. :lol: I know of some drivers who hopped in seats(tin-top), after being successful sim racers and and went well from the first go,

#8 LiJu914

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 16:25

Well, we are getting close to the era when you should, yes. :lol: I know of some drivers who hopped in seats(tin-top), after being successful sim racers and and went well from the first go,


I guess Michelisz is the most prominent? I have a higher rank than him. There is no justice in the world!!  ;)

#9 Szoelloe

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 16:29

I guess Michelisz is the most prominent? I have a higher rank than him. There is no justice in the world!! ;)


That's new info for me. I did not know he was sim racing. But if that's anything to go by, he could be a benchmark, give it a go then. :)

#10 LiJu914

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 16:34

That's new info for me. I did not know he was sim racing.


IIrc his GPL activity enabled his real racing career in the first place. He was the fastest Hungarian and therefore Gabor Weber helped him to get a test drive at the Hungaroring...

Edited by LiJu914, 16 December 2012 - 16:34.


#11 Szoelloe

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 17:03

IIrc his GPL activity enabled his real racing career in the first place. He was the fastest Hungarian and therefore Gabor Weber helped him to get a test drive at the Hungaroring...



Thx. I know Weber was sim racing too, quite successfully. So, being fast in a sim is actually a good indicator of talent, which brings us back to the OP. I think that the technology is close enough to the real thing to actually separate the talented ones from the 'rest'. But is it close enough to separate drivers who are established, or on the verge, in F1? An high-Tech sim, if calibrated well, is providing data that relates well to feeded wind-tunnel data, and is proving that data to be reliable on track, is an invaluable tool to a team nowadays. The question is, is it possible to evaluate a driver in such a sim to be worthy of a top-team's seat or not? I think not, but I find that an interesting question, and I am not that sure that I am right about it.

#12 prty

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 18:05

In the sim you can only see how quick he is, which is only one of the requirements to be successful.

#13 itsademo

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 21:26

No matter how good a sim is it will never test a driver like the real thing.
After all if you make a mistake in a sim its reset and try that again in the real thing it most certainly is not.
The risk element IMHO is the one area sims all fail in and is the one thing that sorts out the real men from the nearly ones.
Are you willing to risk it all in real life or will you settle for a safe 99%

#14 Brandz07

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 21:30

I doubt they can really use it as the only method of evaluation. Plus if a team wanted to evaluate Schumi now days it wouldn't even be possible because he can't use them without feeling sick.

#15 olliek88

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 21:57

http://www.youtube.c...DVGtXJ4#t=1m35s

"You can see straight away the ones who are going to make it"


You call that a simulator?

This is a simulator...



#16 Dolph

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 23:04

I doubt they can really use it as the only method of evaluation. Plus if a team wanted to evaluate Schumi now days it wouldn't even be possible because he can't use them without feeling sick.


I believe it could be used. It would show the driver's ability to be consistent. That's smth, isn't it !?

#17 Mauseri

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:35

I doubt they can really use it as the only method of evaluation. Plus if a team wanted to evaluate Schumi now days it wouldn't even be possible because he can't use them without feeling sick.

If driver is slower in sim than he should be he propably starts feeling sick before long.

Edited by Mauseri, 17 December 2012 - 02:35.


#18 goldenboy

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:40

pretty cool little vid of stoner and dovi in a red bull sim, skip to about 7min 55 in



#19 ViMaMo

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:43

Why not? If the AI of the sim is good enough, they should give it a go. Ofcourse they should try both sim and real, see how that goes.

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#20 prty

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:28

Why not? If the AI of the sim is good enough, they should give it a go.


I don't think that a professional level they simulate races with other cars.

#21 goldenboy

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:49

You call that a simulator?

This is a simulator...

:eek:

#22 f1fastestlap

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:38

You call that a simulator?

This is a simulator...


That put a smile on my face... :cool:

#23 Szoelloe

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:25



Merc has built that thing at Brackley too. I bet LH wet his pants when he saw it. It is similar in principle to the Mc system, though a decade newer.

#24 skinnylizard

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:32

the flip side is that they didn't think Perez was experienced/special enough and were only too happy that he went to McLaren, essentially weakening their attack. Just a thought.

also, for some reason i recall someone saying that Ferrari did not have a simulator. i could be wrong.

#25 Szoelloe

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:40

the flip side is that they didn't think Perez was experienced/special enough and were only too happy that he went to McLaren, essentially weakening their attack. Just a thought.

also, for some reason i recall someone saying that Ferrari did not have a simulator. i could be wrong.


AFAIK they bought one too. Its becoming essential nowadays. Making it give you appropriate feedback is tricky though. Heavily relies on precise windtunnel and CFD data if I am correct. Cost is something few teams can afford for something this advanced too. The Merc on is said to cost over 60M EUR.


#26 AlanK

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 18:15

the flip side is that they didn't think Perez was experienced/special enough and were only too happy that he went to McLaren, essentially weakening their attack. Just a thought.

also, for some reason i recall someone saying that Ferrari did not have a simulator. i could be wrong.


Fernando often " tweets " that he is doing simulator work.

#27 CSquared

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 21:20

No. The examples of Schumacher and Raikkonen answer the question. Even the best simulator doesn't fully simulate all the data a driver's brain and body get when driving a real, accelerating car. In some cases, like MS and KR, the brain gets unhappy that the inputs to the eyes don't match the inputs to the inner ear, the muscles, the blood vessels, etc, and the driver feels sick. The opposite can happen, too. A driver might do fine when driving "by his eyes," but add in his inner ear and he could start to suck. The difference might not be so drastic as getting sick, it might just be a few tenths of lap time, but that's already too much for a real evaluation of an F1 driver.