Pedro de la Rosa says he understands the scale of the challenge Ferrari face to get their simulator up to the level of that of McLaren.
De la Rosa had his first run as a Ferrari driver today to help Ferrari advance their simulator programme.
“We are not where we want to be but I’m very comfortable with the people we have around and their determination to make the next step as well in the simulation programme,” de la Rosa told media at Jerez.
Asked how long it will take Ferrari to get on terms with Mclaren’s simulator he said: “Let’s be realistic. The McLaren simulator started in 2003 so they are obviously a few years ahead compared to other teams. We’ll see.
“The whole point of having me here is to accelerate this process. We’re not sure if it will take six months, one year or two year but we need to start to work flat out in order to catch up because there’s no testing, unfortunately, and this is a big handicap for all the teams that don’t have a very developed simulator.”
He said Ferrari need to “develop both hardware and software” in their simulator “but the first step has to come from the hardware, otherwise you can’t catch up on the software needed”.
A problem on the car halted his first run in a Ferrari on his second lap: “I tell you, when I stepped out of the car on the installation lap after a gearbox problem I was not feeling very happy,” he said.
“Because we waiting for an opportunity like this all your life. And then suddenly after a few corners you have to step out of the car. It was not clear if we could continue or not because there was also some parts that caught fire so it was not looking that bright.”
“I must say it was mixed emotions: I was very excited but then I went on a low. But the mechanics did a fantastic job really to turn the car around and we had a sensible afternoon. Which is critical because how expensive is one day of testing nowadays? You have to make well use of it.”
De la Rosa added the car was a huge improvement over the HRT he drove in 2012:
“I realise now what a real car how it handles and what is the level of grip of these modern F1 cars compared to what I had last year which was very, very different.
“And this will give very good, very solid platform to work on the next few weeks in our simulator. It’s going to be very important what we did today even if it hasn’t been long runs or many laps.”
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