Mercedes W12, 2021

Hamilton limits his simulator running to ‘about 30 laps’ ahead of new season

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he’s only done around 30 laps in Mercedes’ simulator ahead of the new season.

The world champion explained he kept his simulator running to a minimum as the team won’t be able to accurately model all of the changes for the upcoming season until they begin real-world testing with their new W12.

“I don’t really do sim stuff,” Hamilton explained yesterday, “so I’ve not done a lot of laps in the simulator. I’m guessing I’ve maybe done 30 laps or something like that.

“The problem with the sim, for example, is we’ve got a new tyre this year. So they can send an idea of what the tyre model is but we won’t know until we get to the track and we test the tyre when we get to Bahrain. Then I’ll feed back the information of how the tyre behaves through the corners and we can update the sim.

“I really need to be here to update it to say ‘yes, that’s how it feels at the track’. So right now, it’s a kind of guesstimate of what the tyre might feel like.”

Other changes to the car for the 2021 F1 season include alterations to the floor, diffuser and other parts required by the rules in order to curb teams’ downforce gains. Hamilton is waiting to experience the car for himself in pre-season testing next week before drawing any conclusions.

“The aero package has shifted,” said Hamilton. “That, combined with those tyres, I don’t like to take too much from it.”

He suspects one consequence of the changes for the coming season could be that drivers have to make more pit stops during races.

“We have lost rear downforce and that can play a significant role, especially with the tyres dropping off in performance also with these new Pirellis. They’re more reliable or supposed to be more reliable, but they have less grip. I think they’re probably around eight tenths off last year’s tyres.

“So undoubtedly the rear of the car could potentially be sliding around more and [create] more thermal degradation this year. So you might see more [pit] stops, potentially.

“But that’s all guessing, really. Maybe others have lost less downforce and maybe they’ll be in a better position.”

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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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8 comments on “Hamilton limits his simulator running to ‘about 30 laps’ ahead of new season”

  1. Interesting remarks over the inaccuracy of the SIM models from Hamilton!

    1. More drivers think that way. Nevertheless by driving around these imperfections the driver works on his adaptability. In Lewis case that hardly will be needed as he is top notch and the car won’t do too bad either

  2. I am surprised if f1 teams get much real data for their f1 cars through sims, as many still use an old ‘gaming’ sim rfactor. The drivers themselves probably only get one thing out of them, learning a new track, which they learn in about 5 laps anyway in real life. Even trying different libes is pointless as the sim grip can never match a real tracks grip on any certain day. You cant ignore the lack of gforces, and have any f1 teams incorporated VR into their sims yet? I just ordered an oculus quest 2. So cheap since facebook bought the technology! 2k vision for each eye with 8 cameras, the beginning is now for vr, and vr driving.

  3. Setting the AI difficulty to the max for a challenge. I see..

  4. Stevenholmes
    3rd March 2021, 14:43

    When your pedigree is as high as HAM is and he says the SIM is somewhat flawed as with own example. Stating any SIM tire work simply isn’t what real tires present, especially as new compounds and their real performance is yet to be learned.
    So that effectively shows SIM training ends up BEING MORE WASTEFUL as Lewis implicated. At least he is aware of the issue thus seems like SIM work is just a waste of time when compared to actual seat time and let the car talk back and give Lewis real time factual results. So HAM knows and understands the real Racecar is and will always be the most effective method to seek knowledge. Unlike any SIM benefits which appears to falsely assemble statistics. Says something about the need to move away from SIM WORK.
    Lewis’ comments spell this out

    1. There must be some value in sim work otherwise they wouldn’t do it at all.

      The key point which Ham refers to is the lack of tyre data. Presumably last year the sim was pretty accurate given the teams had the same tyres for several years.

  5. I’d volunteer to do the sim work on behalf of him, LOL.

    1. That is Anthony Davidson’s job he is their simulator driver. And if the rumours are correct nico hulkenberg will be doing some simulator work next season as well.

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