Scott Dixon, Ganassi, IndyCar, Circuit of the Americas, 2020

Motorsport and simracing “two completely different worlds” – Dixon

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In the round-up: IndyCar champion Scott Dixon says he’s finding the adjustment to simracing a challenge.

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Are we likely to see anyone get in among the top three teams any time soon?

Although a McLaren fan ever since I’ve started watching Formula 1, I don’t expect the status quo to significantly change under the current circumstances.

No team is going to improve and catch those which are higher in the pecking order, and I’m sure Ferrari would still be miles away in front of the midfield, not far behind Mercedes and on par with Red Bull.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Motorsport and simracing “two completely different worlds” – Dixon”

  1. Engine freezes are never good, they lock in whatever advantages or disadvantages currently exist – though if it were just one year that would be understandable as an emergency measure (but they’re proposing longer). It would be like telling teams they aren’t allowed to develop their car for the next few years (which they’re still allowed to do, it’s just the chassis that has to stay the same for next year)

    If you’re going to save engine costs, the only fair way to do it would be to mandate a spec engine. That’s not something many people would be happy with

  2. With all the moves to eRacing I can’t wait for the presentation ceremony at the end of this year when our new WDC, a morbidly obese driver on benefits from mum’s basement collects the trophy and dedicates the win to all those hours spent gaming instead of getting an education and a job.

    And it’s a joke all before the flamers take off :)

    1. Well I can definitely imagine some people getting really riled up if such thing would happen.

  3. If the FIA is convinced it can police a budget cap on the teams, then why not do similar on PU development? Instead of halting PU development outright, put in a cap on the PU manufacturer.

    I get that it’ll be harder to prevent data sharing between the non-F1 engine operations and F1 (hence hiding costs outside an F1 cost centre is likely), but if measures are in place to monitor personnel transferred between divisions, it should help. Also, this risk wouldn’t be unique to PUs, the same risk exists for the chassis as well.

    Right now, the limits on PU components within a season likely increases R&D costs – since there are only limited opportunities to introduce a new spec of PU, the PU manufacturers put in more effort and expense to getting the design right.

    1. Great idea, let’s put another group of highly skilled engineers and designers out of work. The talking shop and pencil pushers on forums, at FOM and the FIA won’t give a toss as it doesn’t affect them, until we need the skills you want binned. Who do you think has done all the work with ventilators these past few weeks? The same thinking has cut the UK emergency services to the bone, all in search of profits going to millionaires who throw their fortunes at trinkets. Reminds me of fiddling while Rome burns.

      1. So by your logic, the proposed multi-year development freeze is going to keep those engineers employed?

        I get your angst; my suggestion is to reduce the severity of the proposal by allowing some PU development.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          4th April 2020, 10:35

          I disagree as well with your budget cap proposal, @phylyp, but I can’t come up with an incoherent rant to support my view.

          1. I can’t come up with an incoherent rant to support my view

            @coldfly – you’re not trying hard enough :)

            So… when you say you disagree with the budget cap as an alternative to a PU development freeze, are you agreeing with the PU freeze? Because to me, a cap is the lesser of two evils.

          2. ColdFly (@)
            4th April 2020, 12:38

            I agree that “a cap is the lesser of two evils’, @phylyp.
            But I don’t mind that the smart heads continue to find the ultimate bit of useful power they can squeeze out of a drop of fuel.

          3. @coldfly – I’m totally with you on that. I was just thinking of a season in the near future where car and PU development is frozen, and I realized that watching just the “race” part of a race is nowhere as appealing as a race weekend where teams bring new parts, new specs of engines, etc.

            If I’m not mistaken, customer engines are cost-capped, aren’t they? If that is correct, then I don’t see the need for a PU freeze (or even a development cost cap, for that matter), they could just let the big guys continue to spend if they are willing to spend (i.e. Merc and Ferrari, likely Honda as well), while their customers get engines at a fixed price.

            And PU suppliers unwilling to invest or unable to deliver a capable product will see customers defect elsewhere.

          4. ColdFly (@)
            4th April 2020, 14:48

            If I’m not mistaken, customer engines are cost-capped, aren’t they?

            Correct, @phylyp, at €15M according to the commercial owners.

          5. @coldfly – thank you for confirming that, and with a reference.

            In that case, I personally think they needn’t add restrictions on PU development. Let the PU works teams spend what they’re willing to, since that R&D cost won’t be passed on to customers.

        2. @phylyp It won’t – the difference in terms of expertise is that neither they, nor replacements, would ever be re-hired.

  4. The Racer article is extremely negative in it’s tone. So what if guys like Sage Karam are doing hundreds of laps practicing? At the end of the day each of the drivers are paid to be the best race drivers they can be, and at the moment that means being the best sim racer they can be in a Work From Home setup.

    Dinosaurs like Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter Raey can complain all day long about how they have to juggle their Work From Home situation, because of wifes and kids, but at the end of the day there a millions of people trying to Work From Home in less than ideal conditions, juggling the same responsibilities, and for a hell of a lot less money.

    1. To be fair it is expected. These people don’t even know what they are talking about when they talk about sims or e-sports. They are just getting their first laps in. They think it is not good because they don’t understand and likely are bad at it. Those who are good at both real life and in sim racing like verstappen understand the merits of doing it because they actually have experience in both.

      I think both dixon and reay are just saying it is bad and worthless because otherwise it would reflect badly on them. Or they feel they need to suck up to the old folk who see it just as a kid’s toy. Or come up with really weak excuses. Like having kids is suddenly hurting reay’s ability to do sim racing but doesn’t hurt their ability to do real racing? Using his own kids as excuse.. That is just weak. I’d personally appreciate these people a lot more if they simply admitted they need time to build up their skills instead of pretending to know what they are talking about and bashing something just because it takes effort to get good at.

    2. @formulales In fairness, eSports was not what Sage Karam or the others signed up for. It does not particularly resemble what they signed up for. Some will enjoy it and some not. Some will find it relatively easy to fit around their lives and others very difficult. However, the difference between this and what they would normally do is so large that had they been in the UK, they would have been entitled to refuse without effect on their salaries. Complying and complaining is already better than the organisers can reasonably expect – one cannot force someone to like a situation. Especially if it’s causing family problems like it apparently is for Scott Dixon.

  5. Regarding the COTD: Indeed, the status quo is likely to remain the same whenever racing eventually resumes with Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari the clear-top three once again.

  6. Regarding a supposed F1 engine development freeze.
    I definitely support maintaining the Hybrid era status quo NOT.

    1. Last time we had an engine freeze, Renault cried they were so far behind the leading engine makers, they were allowed to continue to develop their V8. Cue some serious cheating that gave RB 8 world championships.

      I’m sure Renault are penning their begging letters to the FIA already.

  7. ColdFly (@)
    4th April 2020, 9:03

    RTL F1 is not unique in focusing, and even favouring, countrymen drivers.
    Over the years I’ve seen broadcasts from around 10 different countries and they all do the same.
    The only exception is Italy (they focus on drivers of a certain red car).

  8. Very interesting about iRacing by Dixon. Even though he might not its biggest fan since he’s lacking experience and his view is somewhat negatively colored by this, the point that it’s too far from the real thing is telling.

    Hopefully Indycar can let iRacing get access to the real data and their own simulators so it’s more real. Like Scott says, the measure should be “IndyCar drivers using their experience to carry over and go right to the front in sim racing”.

    1. William Jones
      4th April 2020, 16:34

      Is his point of view trustworthy though – for sure he can be trusted to know what a real racing car is like, to be in a real race, but he goes on to say that he’s ordered his sim rig but it hasn’t arrived yet. So what was he using to make that judgement? A logitech G29? A controller? If so, then his opinion is worthless because he hasn’t experienced the side of sim racing that strives for realism and accuracy.

      1. greasemonkey
        4th April 2020, 21:49

        Scott Speed has experience in a CXC Simulations 60k+ rig on site in AC, iR, and PC2. During the same time period, Tommy Milner, Mitchell DeJong, Stefan Johanssen, and Oriol Servia were often there too.

        1. William Jones
          4th April 2020, 22:24

          Do we have quotes from any of them regarding how close it was to the real thing – An f1 driver from the 80’s had a go on my vr clubsport buttkicker & subpac setup and said it was shocking how close it was to the real thing, but of course you only have my word for that, so…

          1. Ok you can’t just drop 80s F1 driver and not say who. I would love to know!

    2. Richard Scott
      5th April 2020, 9:49

      If it’s so far away from the real thing then why are all the f1 drivers instantly around 1.5 to 2 seconds quicker than most of the fast sim racers?

      1. I don’t know where you’re getting that from. Compared to the pro iRacing drivers only Max is absolutely top tier and even then he’s top ten if that. The vast majority, including Barrichello and Dixon et al are nowhere near.

      2. @Richard Scott Partly because so many of the assists are turned on. Apart from how much easier that makes it for the F1 drivers, it also changes the experienced for the experienced sim drivers. Driving a car with game-simulated traction control, for example, feels very different to doing so without.

        Even I, a rubbish gamer who has not played a racing game less 8 y ars old (and Need For Speed: Most Wanted probably didn’t have the most sophisticated traction control programming even for its own age), can feel the difference. A sim racer will have developed more precise touch by dint of their occupation and newer games (even “entertainment-level”) will have deeper and subtler traction control. Also, the difference between the “entertainment-level” and “pro-eSports-level” traction controls will have increased, so even sim racers who use traction control in iRacer will find there is a different feel in F1 2019 and be negatively affected to some degree.

        Partly because some of the younger F1 drivers have sim experience – because even with the above, having played any driving sim before is an advantage. And most of them, by this point, have experience of their team’s super-detailed sim, if nothing else.

        Partly because the F1 drivers are ultra-competitive and will have been doing hours of practise in this exact game (this is why Max Verstappen isn’t joining them – he prefers a different game). So mistakes from “I just opened the box” should be fairly rare (unless your name is Jenson Button and you log in immediately after installation…) and are less likely to drag down overall performance. F1 2019 is easier to learn than some other sim titles out there, because it’s aimed at a general audience, so it takes fewer hours of practise to get to a decent level than other games – and every title has quirks, so not everything transfers (the traction control example I gave at the beginning was highlighted because that’s an example where being good at other sims might well slow down an expert sim racer, but there will inevitably be other elements that are inevitably are learned, but still “cost” a small amount of time).

        Partly because some of the fastest sim racers won’t join in.

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