Ferrari has made significant improvements to its Formula 1 simulator this season. according to engineering director Pat Fry.
Pedro de la Rosa joined Ferrari as a development driver at the start of the year to assist with the development of the driver-in-the-loop simulator, an area where Ferrari is playing catch-up compared to its rivals, in particular McLaren and Red Bull.
Fry believes that, while simulator development will always be an ongoing process for all teams, Ferrari is in better shape than it was at the start of the season.
Asked about how the simulator technology is progressing, Fry replied: “Pedro has made a great contribution to the efforts we have made in that area and I think things have come on quite a lot. You will never get a simulator to be exactly like a car on the track, but I think we have made some reasonable improvements in the visuals, the cuing – all the difficult bits of trying to get the right feedback to the driver.
“Are we where we would like to be? No, I don’t think anybody would ever say it [a simulator] is perfect. We have made some good gains, but we will still be constantly developing that forever.”
The simulator is being used to work on the 2014 car, particularly the way the new 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines are used.
“There is a huge amount of work that you can do: you can work out the aero characteristcs, downforce levels, drag levels that you might want,” said Fry. “There are all the power unit strategies and stuff like that.
“From the speed you run in qualifying to the speed in the race, the difference is huge. So there’s a lot of work on that and trying to work out what are the best techniques. I’m sure we could carry on using the simulator every day from now until Christmas and still be learning about the engine.”