Simulators are programmed by software people and developed by engineers, but it is ensuring that they behave like the car in the real world that is very important. They can reference to telemetry data for a large part of this, but there is always the part where you need a driver to say “no it does not do that in the real world” as a final feedback loop. Once the simulator is dialed in then the driver who runs it can tell them if the car is handling better or worse with specific changes to the setup. It is here that I suspect Alonso asked for Pedro de la Rosa. We are told they worked very well together at McLaren. They speak the same language so it is slightly easier for Alonso to take feedback from simulator sessions he did not drive himself. We hear Alonso also has a simulator at home, One would expect him to use the feedback from Pedro de la Rosa to know where he is starting from and how to manage his driving to get the most from the setup he will drive.
Alonso is the real winner here, he has his man in the simulator now. He pushed to get Pedro, Pedro is now his man!
I have never heard if Pedro’s driving style, while obviously slower, is similar enough in style to Alonso that he gets good feedback that way. Any ideas Joe?
I suspect they have also bought his understanding of what a state-of-the-art simulator should be expected to do. That is, he can tell the software people where to head.
I imagine there was a conversation at McLaren that went something like this:
McL: Pedro, we’ve made some big upgrades to the simulator – we need you to spend today working on corner exit speed as we tweak the tyre diameter as it influences diffuser efficiency.
Pedro: So, guys, a good model can demonstrate the interaction between tyre wear, rolling circumference, compound and air flow dynamics on the rear of the car in ways our current model isn’t. These are the areas I was asked to assess for McL…
Ferrari software engineers: Thanks. Here we were just working on the pixel fill rate on our Donington Park pitlane replicate.
The simulator is the domain of the software people. However, you still need a test driver that can relate to and help interpret their ideas and those of the race drivers. It just so happens that Pedro de la Rosa, along with Olivier Panis and Alexander Wurz are all particularly gifted in that department.
Of the three, I rate Olivier Panis as perhaps the best of his era. I recall, while with Toyota, he detected an engine problem, a tiny vibration, high in the rev range, one that neither the engineers nor their monitoring equipment had picked-up. In spite of the lack of data to support what he was reporting, and because of just how good he is, they stripped the unit and did indeed find the cause. You get a good test driver, you should do your best to hang on to them. They are worth their weight in gold, especially when little or no track testing is permitted.
A good move all round I should have thought. I seem to recall that back in the days of Coughlan/Stepney-gate, it was de la Rosa and Alonso who supposedly worked closely together in determining the questions that Coughlan might ask, so there must be good potential for them to work well together again. I guess his knowledge of the McLaren simulator must be useful to Ferrari, but perhaps not sufficiently recent to be a cause for any concern. Not quite the same as that chap who took his McLaren files with him when he went to work for Renault!
The legal dossier in the case contained the following:
Eighteen witness statements provided by Renault F1 employees, admitting that they viewed the confidential technical information belonging to McLaren on 11 separate Renault F1-owned computers .
Three computer forensic reports provided by Kroll, which revealed that in March 2006 33 files of confidential technical information belonging to McLaren were copied onto 11 floppy disks, which were loaded onto Renault F1’s computer system in September 2006. These 33 files contain more than 780 individual drawings outlining the entire technical blueprint of the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars. These 33 files were uploaded onto 11 Renault F1 computers, and were discussed by up to 18 Renault F1 personnel. The information included the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car, together with details of the McLaren fuelling system, gear assembly, oil cooling system, hydraulic control system and a novel suspension component used by the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.
Now THAT is strange Rich T! Back in about 1996-97, I read exactly THAT story, only it was related to Ayrton when he was at Lotus…..it may have been 88 at McL…. but I havent seen the story since but I have a leaning toward Lotus being correct….old fables handed down through time and all that eh? #:)
wassn’t the story about ayrton, that he crashed and insisted that it wasn’t his fault, but that “the wall must have moved”. they didn’t believe it at first, but because he insisted they went and checked and realized that he was right?
It was Ayrton when he was at Williams and during a testing day, it was also a camshaft in question (exhaust from memory). They were making a documentary at the time, so somewhere you’ll find the video footage, I will admit I’ve looked for the footage to show someone but I’ve not been able to find it.
Yes – I remember that. It may have happened more than once, but it was covered in the superb 1993 documentary “The Team: A Season with McLaren”. Ayrton was adamant that the Ford engine had “the noise”, but there was nothing else to support a problem. The engineers eventually went with his opinion and found a defective cam shaft.
Old fable handed down? Perhaps, at other times and in other places. Maybe other, similar incidents have occurred and been reported that way, but the incident involving Panis did indeed take place, and in the real world, while he was with Toyota.
Irrespective of what one chooses to believe, Panis, De la Rosa and Wurz, in that order are regarded as the best recent test drivers.
As for Senna and the wall; I recall Ayrton deliberately crashing his car on one particular occasion- it was when teams were still permitted T cars- because he calculated he could, if he wrecked his car at the end of the lap, set fastest time by entering the final corner off the racing line and tagging the wall on the exit. He did it, claiming pole and using the T car for the race. That, along with Panis fault report are no fables!
Good news, Pedro’s professionalism shone through the bleak HRT 2012 season, especially at the later races where the Owners had given up. Pedro and Alex Wurz deserved a better ride from F1 but both come across as solid people. Glad he is still involved in F1.
Ferrari never got the last simulator to work the same as the car, it sent them off in the wrong direction. Things which worked on the sim did not subsequently work on the car.
Knowledge of the McLaren sim and it’s preparation, set-up and methodology would therefore be useful in the new Ferrari sim.
I was not a fan of DeLR over spygate and felt he should have been punished as should Alonso.