McLaren Engineer Explains Vital Role Simulator Driver Plays On F1 Teams

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When McLaren-Honda announced it would give a one-year contract as a simulator driver to the winner of its World’s Fastest Gamer competition, it might have been the first time casual Formula One fans learned such a position existed. Not only do F1 teams employ drivers exclusively for simulator work, they relies heavily on such individuals.

McLaren posted a video to its World’s Fastest Gamer Twitter account Thursday that explained just how important sim drivers are to every aspect of an F1 team’s development program.

The video showed an interview with Alice Rowlands, a simulator test engineer with McLaren, who shed some light on what the organization uses sims for, and the advantages they can give a driver.

One of the most interesting parts of the interview was arguably that Rowlands said sim racers typically have a greater technical understanding than people who have mostly real-life experience. We frankly think, even if you don’t work with engineers on a test program, sims are a great way to learn what changes to make to a car — or your driving style — to get it to behave the way you want.

Considering there’s such a large pool of gamers who don’t have professional contracts, it’s no wonder McLaren decided to crowd source its next sim driver.

Thumbnail photo via Honda Racing

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