The art of simulation |

The art of simulation |

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The art of simulation |

This weekend, at Silverstone, the Italy-England rematch will be played. With a slightly more predictable forecast and an expected result that is not that of last Sunday. Who knows why during the final, looking at Raheem Sterling’s angel dives (and not only his, mind you), it occurred to me that we Italians are a people of saints, poets and navigators, and they of simulators. Which brings us back to the question of ‘spiders’, those from Maranello and those from across the Channel. You may remember what I wrote after Austria: namely that the Ferrari of 2022 was made to test (in virtual foreshadowing, of course) to its drivers. But the simulator used for the test was not the one announced for a while, which is rising where Nerd Korea once was (or the prefab that housed dozens of very efficient and very kind geeks, who I will never cease to thank for saving me many times by telematic octopuses). No, we still talk about the old ‘spider’, derived from the Dallara one and so similar, externally, to confuse even Mattia Binotto in photography (but I’ve already told this).

The father of the exclusive new Ferrari simulator

By a happy, fortuitous coincidence, a few days after the article was published on this site, the communiqué arrived from Maranello which, in great detail, announced the forthcoming installation of the new plant, more or less in September. I am not an expert in calibration and even more in simulations; but they tell me that the construction site has been closed for about a month and that, also calculating the mandatory two weeks of summer break (which this time the engineers will also have to observe), it will be easy to reach late autumn before the machine is able to withstand a single-seater development test. To those who believe – I randomly draw from the comments of the last post – that the simulator is only useful for the development of the car already built, you can simply answer: so why have Leclerc and Sainz already “made it try”? The reality is that this type of equipment, which has crazy construction and management costs, ‘pays for itself’ through a variety of functions, allowing both to reproduce the behavior of a specific component (a wing, a suspension scheme), and to simulate the general behavior of a not yet fully developed ‘concept’.

Ferrari completes the new simulator: operational since September

It is also clear that, continuing the restrictions on track tests, at Ferrari a new ‘spider’ – even if it isn’t spider – served like tortellini at the Cavallino restaurant (where, incidentally, they have just reported the presence of this Maurizio Arrivabene). I know both Daniil Kvyat and Pascal Wehrlein well, two of the last dedicated development drivers active in Maranello. The first had the experience of the Red Bull simulator, the second of the Mercedes one. Both, without expressly saying it, made me understand clearly, at the time, that Compared to the Ferrari spider, the competition lined up systems of a completely different concept and, above all, of another generation. The very concept of Maranello’s extendable arms is long overdue. Apart from the fact that, to really simulate the lateral acceleration of certain curves, this arm would need to arrive in Sassuolo, in reality it is the last thing a professional driver needs, already used to and trained in lateral and longitudinal “G”. There is much more to faithfully reproduce, starting with the ‘relationship’ between the tire and the track. And this explains the many nights spent in the virtual cockpit by Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Wehrlein and recently Antonio Fuoco (who works and costs little) between Friday and Saturday of a race weekend. It happened, and I’m afraid it still happens, that therebaseline‘, that is the basic structure defined in the simulator, proves to be inadequate when tested by the facts. So off you go, gorging the spider with fresh new data, collected during free practice, to make it metabolize and come out with decent adjustments. A process that has worked, in the past, but reveals theinadequacy of current machinery.

A Lando against the sky

So writing, as Ferrari did, that Dynisma’s equipment will serve project 674 (aka SF22) makes sense; but this does not mean that it will be used for its design; and you will certainly understand the difference. This perhaps explains, at least in part, why certain rumors about Charles have been coming out of Maranello for a few days Leclerc tempted by the Red Bull sirens. Rumors that will certainly be officially denied starting the day after tomorrow, but in the meantime they are part of the chatter around GeS coffee machines (and less controlled social profiles). The truth is that Charles, even if he will never say it in public, is not happy with the way things are going. And least of all his management is happy. They had been asked, in 2020, to be patient for a couple of seasons, waiting for the Great Revival scheduled for 2022 with the new generation single-seaters. Now, I am not saying that this cannot happen: I am saying, however, that in Ferrari, today, they seem to believe in it much less. There are many silences, many filters, and often those who work on the machine do not know what is being done in other departments. The 674 will certainly be able to take advantage of cutting-edge simulation technology, but probably only for development and not for the definition of the project. It is a fact that this made Leclerc lose his patience. Which has a contract until 2024, but certainly bound by performance clauses. Let’s see what Charles himself will say about it in England, bearing in mind that already other times, in front of the cameras, his words and body language went in opposite directions. He knows the art of piloting by heart, that of simulation perhaps a little less.