Sebastian Vettel’s new F1 simulator puts my ramshackle setup to shame

The simulators used by the Formula 1 teams and their drivers are first class. It’s huge rooms with control panels, feeds of data from all sides, terabytes of data that are fed to engineers who use that information to design a real car. I would like to show you a photo of what I visited a few years ago, but I can’t – these teams have their simulators completely blocked from the media.

But what is a Formula 1 driver to do when he is not near his team’s world-class Formula 1 simulator? The team brings them a simulator.

The Aston Martin F1 team just released the details of the F1 simulator they left at the home of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, and it’s really great. Its most striking feature is a replica of the AMR21 chassis that forms the basis of the simulator’s cockpit, fully dual to the chassis used by the team in the 2021 Formula One World Championship.

The cockpit consists of Vettel’s own racing seat, headrest, and seat belts from the 2021 championship. Side mirrors, steering wheel, and headrest are also true.

Apparently, the dual-screen version “proved to be limiting,” which leads me to surmise that a modest budget wasn’t a determining factor in development. There’s bound to be some serious graphics power inside this PC for those three screens to keep up with the world champion’s driving, but we’re sadly lacking in detail. No doubt there is a high-end graphics card in there, either the RTX 3090 or the RX 6900 XT.

Surrounding the cockpit are a plethora of Logitech speakers providing immersive sound, although I doubt anyone is racing at home at a volume to match the roar of the V6 Turbo Hybrid engines used in Formula One today.

Even the metal frame that holds it all together was custom-made just for this simulation setup.

My only criticism of the entire build is that the tempered side glass of the PC is still covered in plastic. I really hope that’s not the case now that he’s taking a seat in Vettel’s own home.

Simulator design began in April 2021 under the leadership of Senior Garage Equipment Designer Matt Tomalin. Pro Sim, a simulator developer, and manufacturer, helped assemble the wheel feedback system and calibrate the brake pedal to mimic the actual response of an F1 car.

“In such a global championship, logistics and time constraints can make it difficult to run a simulator, so the home simulator gives Sebastian a chance to get into the zone before the Grand Prix weekend,” Blog post He speaks.

All in all, this simulator meets the expensive tastes and expectations of F1. These top F1 teams don’t do anything halfway, it’s clear, and even with a cost cap set to create a budget ceiling, there’s rarely a cost-saving when it comes to peak performance. Although the exact price of this simulator is not specified, I shudder at the thought of how much it costs.

Though I have to admit that my lap times are not exactly world championship material.

How much a high-class simulator will help in the upcoming season, only the pros can say. Vettel had some joking words about his preparations for the upcoming 2022 season, which starts this weekend, and will see major changes to every car on the grid under sweeping new rules.

“Maybe it’s better to hop on a city bus rather than a pre-race simulator to get ready,” Vettel told reporters in Bahrain (via Planet F1).

“The cars are different now. The first thing that comes to mind is the weight, the cars have gotten a lot heavier, just more inertia, more mass, so the driving has to adapt.”

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