Ask Us Series, By Cool Performance. What Simulators Do Formula 1 Drivers Use?
What Simulators Do Formula 1 Drivers Use?
Formula one drivers are competing at the highest level of motorsport, requiring precision, skill and fitness. These are characteristics that are not learnt overnight. Drivers develop these through hours of dedication to various training techniques such as simulators, gym equipment and mind training.
This article will explain which simulators Formula 1 drivers use at home and in their team's factories that contribute to these characteristics.
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There are two different simulators that Formula 1 drivers will use, their home simulator and their team simulator. We will explain the simulator these Formula 1 drivers are using to drive throughout the year.
Formula 1 teams are using the highest level of equipment. The teams will be using a cockpit simulator like our half tub simulator. This allows the driver a hyper-realistic scenario of being in a real-life car. The seating in the vehicle will be made from their real-life car moulds to enhance the realism when the drivers are on the simulator training for the next race.
Formula 1 drivers, on average, will spend just under one month per year driving on the simulator at their team's factory. This will mostly be updating their muscle memory with the next track and seeing how comfortable they are with different set up’s and adjustments to the car.
The simulator will be running the same pedals that their car has that year (A hydraulic brake system such as the AP Racing Cylinder System that we use in all of our simulators). The steering motor will be a high-end system such as the Leo Bodnar 54 SimSteering 2.
They will programme the steering system in the same way we do to suit the needs of the outputs they require. Formula 1 has power steering, so they do not need to produce the highest forces from the steering motor that a car like Formula 2 would need.
They need accuracy, which comes in the higher end steering motors so that every degree of input is read accurately and the motors are fast enough to deal with this (to catch the rear of the car, for example).
Cool Performance AP Racing Cylinder Hydraulic Brake Pedal, Used On All Of Our Simulators
The software running on the simulator will vary from team to team, but we know a few teams are using rfactor (pro) as a base for their car and tracks. They will internally have the tracks scanned the same way we do to ensure they are hyper-accurate models to drive on. This enables the drivers to learn tracks, push to the limit, and see any track adjustments from when they were last on the circuit.
Car models will all be created in house as per the actual f1 car, inserting all the data into the software to recreate the actual car they will drive. This data can also be improved with real-life data. The teams can overlay real-life telemetry with simulator telemetry to get a correlation between the two.
Motion is something that is widely talked about in the simulator industry. Formula 1 teams all will be using motion, and these will not be the standard commercial systems that you can get for £6,000+. They will be custom-built (similar to hexapod motion), which will have cost millions over the years to get the level technology to the highest standard available. This enables the motion to react in that 0.01 second time when the driver feels the car is moving away from them, locking up or sliding in a certain way. This technology isn’t available to the everyday simulator gamer consumer due to the price.
The PCs that the teams will use will be of the highest specification. We are running two of the highest specification PCs to power our Formula half tub simulator (including the data station), so you can get an idea of the performance required. They will need a considerable amount of power for graphics, speed and software they integrate into the systems for parts such as the steering wheel dashboard/settings.
Formula 1 drivers will use a home simulator for pleasure rather than train for their next race. This is simply because they want to unwind and have fun driving with friends in online lobbies. Drivers including Lando Norris and Alex Albon frequently compete on iRacing with our Formula simulator. The simplicity of the software makes it a hit with simulator users around the world.