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Saturday 7th July 2012

Felipe Massa teaches PH how to drive an F1 car

Riggers takes an F1 car around Silverstone. Well, a simulated Silverstone...


Beats a PS3...
Beats a PS3...
'Riggers, Felipe is faster than you.' Nobody said this to me as I tentatively accelerated past a virtual version of the Silverstone Wing in Shell's £300,000 F1 simulator; they didn't need too. You do not get a good lap time at the home of the British GP by careening across the grass and almost missing the entire corner of Becketts.

Riggers, Felipe is faster than you...
Riggers, Felipe is faster than you...
Officially, we visited the Science Museum in London to learn more about the relationship between Shell oils and lubricants and Formula One; in reality we were there to have a go on a pukka F1 simulator and to meet Felipe Massa.

And what a piece of kit a modern F1 simulator is. Shell's example doesn't have as much hydraulic ram trickery as ones belonging to F1 teams, but otherwise it's a serious piece of kit. A gamer's wet dream, in fact.

It uses the exact software as The Scuderia's sim, the body parts are hand-built by Ferrari itself, the control weights are set up to precisely mirror Massa's actual race car, and the steering wheel, as with all full-on F1 simulators, is made by McLaren Technologies (which no doubt sticks in the craw for some at Maranello). Everything else is high-end, too - the projectors alone cost £10,000.

Massa: another day at the office
Massa: another day at the office
For us pleb journos, most of the more detailed aspects of the simulation are switched off - we don't have KERS or DRS to play with, for example, and the tyre degradation function has been disabled. But otherwise this is the real deal. It's as close to being at Silverstone in a Ferrari as you're going to get (although perhaps not as wet as Friday's practice for the GP was...). How close? It's within 5mm of the real circuit and the topography is recorded by a truck that trundles around the track at 1mph - and costs around £30K in track time to cover a circuit like Silverstone.

And I'm lucky enough to have a go at a hot lap or two with Felipe Massa sitting beside me (not actually in the cockpit; that would be absurd). As track instruction goes, it surely doesn't get any cooler than having a real-life F1 driver give you tips.

I ask him how long he spends in F1 simulators - something that's a lot more important than it used to be with the restricted testing in F1 these days. "I've spent two days preparing for Silverstone on it," he tells me, "but I don't know how much time I spend on the simulator overall - though it's a lot!"

It's also a much more efficient way to learn a circuit. "You get a lot more track time, because when you're done with a session you can just switch it off and get out." In short, there's no need for installation laps, no need for warm-up and cool-down periods and no need to lug several articulated lorries to a distant racetrack.

The bit of F1 life we're not jealous of...
The bit of F1 life we're not jealous of...
It's also a thoroughly realistic development tool both for the driver and the car. We're not talking a PS3 attached to a big screen and bits of an F1 car; all the same telemetry used on the pit wall of a GP can be generated so that reams of data can be collected. I do wonder if it isn't a bit odd for a driver, though, not being able to feel the g-force of accelerating, cornering or braking.

"Yeah, it's a bit weird at first," says Massa, "Maybe for the first few laps you don't try as hard as you don't have all the same sensations, but you get used to it. Mind you a lot of drivers struggle with sims, particularly the older ones who haven't grown up with them."

I can see how it would be a bit weird, but my problems are entirely different. A full-on simulator like this really gives you an appreciation of just how alien an experience an F1 car must be compared to more lowly formulae. There's simply so much grip, so much acceleration and so much braking capability that you have to completely re-calibrate your ideas of what is possible.

"please get this gurning idiot out of my car"
"please get this gurning idiot out of my car"
So while I'm tentatively thinking about powering out of a corner, slowly blending the throttle in, Massa has calmly been saying "full power now" for a good couple of seconds. My final lap time shows definitively that I will not be joining an F1 grid anytime soon - where Massa clocked a 1m 34s time, more or less identical to Alonso's best lap from the 2011 race, I managed a 1m 49.6s. I think Massa's seat at Ferrari is safe for now...

Riggers
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Author Discussion

K2MDL

Original Poster:

2,488 posts

106 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
I just love the look on Massa's face - it's a picture!



mph

1,550 posts

169 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
Why not have twenty identical simulators connected to a virtual racetrack and hold the F1 series in a a hangar in doncaster ?

Think of the tens of millions of pounds it would save.

With modern graphics I doubt the TV audience could tell the difference and we wouldn't be reliant on weather, politics or Bernie.

What's not to like ?


Pints

16,180 posts

81 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
mph said:
Why not have twenty identical simulators connected to a virtual racetrack and hold the F1 series in a a hangar in doncaster ?

Think of the tens of millions of pounds it would save.

With modern graphics I doubt the TV audience could tell the difference and we wouldn't be reliant on weather, politics or Bernie.

What's not to like ?
scratchchin

I like it!

Mojocvh

15,137 posts

149 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
So when's Villeneuve getting his seat?

PaulDV

1 posts

78 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
mph said:
Why not have twenty identical simulators connected to a virtual racetrack and hold the F1 series in a a hangar in doncaster ?

Think of the tens of millions of pounds it would save.

With modern graphics I doubt the TV audience could tell the difference and we wouldn't be reliant on weather, politics or Bernie.
And a few years later, once people are used to it, think of the tracks you could "build". Loops, bridges, 90-degree camber...
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tommy vercetti

8,245 posts

50 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
PaulDV said:
mph said:
Why not have twenty identical simulators connected to a virtual racetrack and hold the F1 series in a a hangar in doncaster ?

Think of the tens of millions of pounds it would save.

With modern graphics I doubt the TV audience could tell the difference and we wouldn't be reliant on weather, politics or Bernie.
And a few years later, once people are used to it, think of the tracks you could "build". Loops, bridges, 90-degree camber...
Top lurking.

dtrump

1,546 posts

78 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
tommy vercetti said:
PaulDV said:
mph said:
Why not have twenty identical simulators connected to a virtual racetrack and hold the F1 series in a a hangar in doncaster ?

Think of the tens of millions of pounds it would save.

With modern graphics I doubt the TV audience could tell the difference and we wouldn't be reliant on weather, politics or Bernie.
And a few years later, once people are used to it, think of the tracks you could "build". Loops, bridges, 90-degree camber...
Top lurking.
Holy Moly!

MattDell

2,849 posts

42 months

[news] 
Sunday 8th July 2012 quote quote all
K2MDL said:
I just love the look on Massa's face - it's a picture!

We need to hang this in the office! hehe

MagicalTrevor

5,424 posts

116 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
MattDell said:
K2MDL said:
I just love the look on Massa's face - it's a picture!

We need to hang this in the office! hehe
Let the PH masses photoshop it first winkhehe

thewheelman

2,194 posts

60 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Pints said:
mph said:
Why not have twenty identical simulators connected to a virtual racetrack and hold the F1 series in a a hangar in doncaster ?

Think of the tens of millions of pounds it would save.

With modern graphics I doubt the TV audience could tell the difference and we wouldn't be reliant on weather, politics or Bernie.

What's not to like ?
scratchchin

I like it!
Oh hell no! Who in their right mind would want to watch a bunch of people playing a game????

An absolutely idiotic idea, Motorsport is about cars, not graphics.

MarJay

1,873 posts

62 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Massa is thinking... "Oh my... god... I'm here with RIGGERS FROM PISTONHEADS! Don't do anything stupid... don't do anything stupid..."

jon-

13,908 posts

103 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
I would have had to have said the immortal "Ok, so, Riggers is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message"...

weyland yutani

1,335 posts

51 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
jon- said:
I would have had to have said the immortal "Ok, so, Riggers is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message"...
Poor Massa will be haunted by that radio message for the rest of his life. Great to see him put in a solid drive yesterday, he seems a genuinely decent bloke, though I reckon his days at Ferrari are numbered.

y2blade

54,582 posts

102 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Go Riggers...GO GO GO!!!! cool

Mister V

1,080 posts

87 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
Oh hell no! Who in their right mind would want to watch a bunch of people playing a game????
Google e-sports

Twincam16

27,646 posts

145 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
weyland yutani said:
jon- said:
I would have had to have said the immortal "Ok, so, Riggers is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message"...
Poor Massa will be haunted by that radio message for the rest of his life. Great to see him put in a solid drive yesterday, he seems a genuinely decent bloke, though I reckon his days at Ferrari are numbered.
I have a feeling that accident he had with Barrichello's car a few years back had a similar effect on his brain to the one Stirling Moss had at Goodwood in 1960. In that 'Hammond meets Moss' programme, where they're talking about brain damage, apparently that impact on the front of the helmet affected the part of Moss's brain that dealt with reflexes and reactions for racing, so when he got back in the car he was having to think about doing things that once before just came naturally.

Looking at the way that suspension unit hit Massa's helmet in the same place, I wouldn't be surprised if he was suffering from the same affliction. For someone to go within a corner of Intelagos of winning the F1 World Championship to struggling around the midfield even though he's in one of the best cars, and for that change to take place around the time of his accident, is IMO more than a mere coincidence. The fact he even keeps racing after that is a sign of how good he is, really.

jon-

13,908 posts

103 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Twincam16 said:
I have a feeling that accident he had with Barrichello's car a few years back had a similar effect on his brain to the one Stirling Moss had at Goodwood in 1960. In that 'Hammond meets Moss' programme, where they're talking about brain damage, apparently that impact on the front of the helmet affected the part of Moss's brain that dealt with reflexes and reactions for racing, so when he got back in the car he was having to think about doing things that once before just came naturally.

Looking at the way that suspension unit hit Massa's helmet in the same place, I wouldn't be surprised if he was suffering from the same affliction. For someone to go within a corner of Intelagos of winning the F1 World Championship to struggling around the midfield even though he's in one of the best cars, and for that change to take place around the time of his accident, is IMO more than a mere coincidence. The fact he even keeps racing after that is a sign of how good he is, really.
An interesting post, but my first thought was "what's buttons excuse then?" as he's gone from F1 champion to struggling around the midfield in one of the best cars, without an impact to the head.

Then Massa pulls a drive out like he did at Silverstone, pretty much the equal of Alonso...

MattDell

2,849 posts

42 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Twincam16 said:
I have a feeling that accident he had with Barrichello's car a few years back had a similar effect on his brain to the one Stirling Moss had at Goodwood in 1960. In that 'Hammond meets Moss' programme, where they're talking about brain damage, apparently that impact on the front of the helmet affected the part of Moss's brain that dealt with reflexes and reactions for racing, so when he got back in the car he was having to think about doing things that once before just came naturally.

Looking at the way that suspension unit hit Massa's helmet in the same place, I wouldn't be surprised if he was suffering from the same affliction. For someone to go within a corner of Intelagos of winning the F1 World Championship to struggling around the midfield even though he's in one of the best cars, and for that change to take place around the time of his accident, is IMO more than a mere coincidence. The fact he even keeps racing after that is a sign of how good he is, really.
As much as everyone slags of Massa (myself included), this post hits the nail on the, erm, head.

RDK11L

1 posts

28 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
Next PH sunday service to Puretech Racing in Crawley?

They have 10 F1 simulators, similar to this, that move around as well and is only £35 a go....

K2MDL

Original Poster:

2,488 posts

106 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
jon- said:
An interesting post, but my first thought was "what's buttons excuse then?" as he's gone from F1 champion to struggling around the midfield in one of the best cars, without an impact to the head.
+1 I have no idea either. I sometimes wonder if his middle name is Henman..... sleep

Or even Murray.

Edited by K2MDL on Tuesday 10th July 10:45

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