Ferrari have assigned American company Moog with designing and building the Maranello team a state-of-the-art simulator for use by their drivers and tacticians. It is believed that McLaren currently possess the finest simulator and Lewis Hamilton has often spoken of using the system, particularly last season when the young driver was in his rookie year. Ferrari want to go one better though and Moog, who have previously developed flight simulators, will be charged with the project.
Moog have been around since the early-fifties, and although simulators aren’t what they are especially known for, the company has a strong background in building aircraft, spacecraft, military weapon and missile controls. In their long history, Moog have worked on the B-2 Bomber, the Voyager space probes as well as four other spacecraft and their simulator work has been used to create a ride at Universal Studios.
With the Formula One circus about to descend on Valencia in Spain for the first time at the street circuit, much talk has been made about how the drivers are preparing for the challenge. For McLaren, their simulator will have been used extensively, I would imagine, as would others owned by the more well-funded teams. However, despite all the hype surrounding new technology and new tracks, Ferrari-driver Kimi Raikkonen didn’t seem too bothered about his team’s latest investment.
To be honest, that’s something I don’t like. I’ve always been able to get to know a new race track very fast. Kimi Raikkonen.
The reigning world champion is confident he can master Valencia, and his quote reminds me of when Albert Park first arrived in Formula One back in 1996. At the time the closest a driver really got to a simulator was the Sony Playstation, but I believe it was Damon Hill who said that most drivers can easily learn a new circuit within 9 or 10 laps. So while the simulator may not prove too valuable for the drivers, it will help the squads run through mock races to better understand their pit strategies.
For a moment I was getting excited about the prospect of 70’s synthesizer music coming from the Ferrari pit garage!!! 🙂
Although a simulator can never replace actually being there, it can speed up the learning process. This year I went to Silverstone to drive around the International Circuit which I have never driven on before. To try and learn the circuit, I used the racing simulator rFactor which a almost perfect recreation of the circuit and a car similar to mine.
When on the circuit for the first time, it felt familiar and I was able to go out there and get on with driving. I few things had to be fine tuned like my braking points when to enter a corner. I have no doubt that I given more time I could have learned the circuit to the same degree, but the simulator defiantly speeded up the process.
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