Actual life driver names, Murray Walker’s iconic commentary, plus subtle (for the time) observe mapping and automotive fashions, all helped guarantee the sport turned a best-selling traditional.
“It was large and was one thing I actually loved enjoying as a child,” smiles the Australian.
Regardless of the graphics, modelling and dealing with all shifting on tremendously through the years, with the most recent F1 2021 title hitting new peaks, for a very long time Ricciardo’s opinion of sim racing didn’t change a lot. To him they have been nonetheless simply video games.
However the march of know-how, and the brand new ranges of realism being provided by sim racing titles, has served to alter Ricciardo’s perceptions fairly a bit.
He’s seen how top-rated sim racers have efficiently transferred their expertise over to real-world racing; and likewise noticed how the youthful era of F1 stars, like Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, profit from their on-line experiences.
Combine that in with F1’s rising deal with simulators, allied to the ever-increasing restrictions on real-life testing to remain race sharp, and it’s no marvel that Ricciardo’s mindset has shifted.
Now, as he considers shopping for a house sim rig for the primary time, he thinks gaming is at a degree the place he can also achieve from it.
“At first, I assumed it was simply one thing enjoyable to cross the time, however I undoubtedly see that there is a bit extra to it now,” he tells Autosport.
“A number of the sim racers, they have been in a position to switch their expertise into an actual automotive and that’s been a little bit of an eye-opener. We talked about F1 1995, and that was very totally different to what we’ve got now.
“So in all probability for some time, my head was within the place of ‘ah, it is only a recreation’. Now it’s like what can I actually study from it?”
What Ricciardo particularly thinks he can achieve from sim racing is in conserving himself centered and mentally ready for the real-life moments when he has to ship.
“The largest problem that I am going to say all of us F1 drivers have is we solely get a number of probabilities every weekend to place a brand new set of tyres on and do the proper lap,” he says.
“There’s typically three weeks inbetween races, after which on the finish of the season there’s two or three months. It’s loopy, for a sport that is so exact, and there is a lot know-how concerned, and with such precision, that it is laborious for any of us to ever actually be good as a result of we simply do not get the mileage.
“That is the place I’ve undoubtedly been extra open-minded. I’ve at all times appreciated the F1 simulators, however with the house stuff, for the final six to 12 months, it’s been about getting these lap repetitions in.
“I feel it’s actually necessary and, even when the automotive shouldn’t be the identical automotive, it might even be a GT automotive for instance, it is about placing your self in that atmosphere of like: ‘OK that is the lap, I’ve obtained to nail it.’ It’s a little bit of a psychological factor, of making an attempt to place the stress on your self.”
Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren in F1 2021
Picture by: Codemasters
Actual life comparisons
As an envoy for the brand new F1 2021 title, Ricciardo has had the chance to get some up-close experiences of the most recent title – and communicate on to the builders at Codemasters.
It leaves him completely positioned to match how the most recent recreation matches up towards his real-world experiences: be it an precise grand prix or a contemporary F1 crew simulator.
Nobody is beneath any illusions that titles like F1 2021 are in a position to recreate the uncooked violence and bodily sensations that real-life automobiles ship to their drivers.
Nonetheless, Ricciardo says that it’s in additional delicate areas the place the sport is definitely in a position to mimic a number of the real-life experiences fairly effectively.
“If I’m going again a little bit of time the place, even issues like kerbing and grass, it was all simply very flat,” he says. “By way of the controller, you would not get any shock or bounce over a kerb. All of the tracks felt the identical and it did not actually seize undulations and issues like that, so there’s much more really feel now.”
The physics fashions have additionally turn into a lot improved, and are actually far more in line in the way in which wherein drivers are pushed to chase lap time.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M
Picture by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
“There’s much more response by way of the automotive with sliding,” provides Ricciardo. “You may catch it slightly bit extra, whereas again within the day if was what I might name ‘arcade’. You’d have both 100% grip otherwise you’ve obtained like zero grip, so there was no really feel.
“Then, I feel as effectively with F1, a variety of laptime we discover on observe is on exit. If you may get on the throttle early then, with rear-wheel drive, you’ve obtained a lot energy that your lap time simply accumulates into one thing clearly quick.
“With video video games, a variety of the time you used to get got here from having the ability to brake so late, and using a number of the assists. However I feel now the lap time, and go quick, correlates to on observe. We’re type of sluggish in, quick out, I really feel like that is how I’ll obtain the most effective lap occasions. So, even from that viewpoint, it is obtained extra lifelike.”
However do video games like F1 2021 now evaluate to the real-life simulators that groups are utilizing?
“It is obtained nearer,” he says. “There are issues like observe maps, that are type of underrated in how shut the observe can feel and look, in comparison with the actual one. That is the place the sims are close to good as a result of the F1 groups can do all of the measurements on observe, and get all of the elevations and cambers and so. And that is now the place the F1 recreation has come a good distance, and I feel that is very shut on, I might say, most circuits.
“I feel with even issues like locking a brake, and traction and all that kind of stuff, it is laborious to place it in percentages phrases. However I’ve at all times mentioned that, if the F1 sims are possibly 80% actual in comparison with the actual automotive, then the video games at dwelling was once possibly like 30%. Now, they’re effectively above 50%.”
Sim racing v actual world divide
Whereas Ricciardo is a convert to the advantages (and enjoyable) that may be had from sim racing, there are different real-life motorsport figures who don’t share his enthusiasm.
Lately, movie producer and automotive engineer James Glickenhaus induced a stir within the sim racing group when a Tweet he posted was interpreted as a dig towards the digital racing world.
Whereas Glickenhaus later clarified his feedback have been in reference to a rival hypercar producer relatively than towards sim racing, it had already fuelled the controversy about whether or not something that wasn’t actual racing was ‘meaningless bullshit’.
Requested if he shared such an opinion, Ricciardo mentioned that maybe there was a time when he seemed down on sim racing. However now issues are very totally different.
“I will be straight with you want – at first, I used to be additionally like that as a result of racing, for instance the actual stuff, is what I might accomplished my complete life,” he explains.
“Clearly I’ve my pleasure in that, and you understand that for those who hit a wall it hurts. And the sim doesn’t harm. So I assume there’s pleasure there or no matter.
“However now that we have seen some sim racers switch into actual race automobiles, and truly present promise and expertise and talent, it is like, OK, I do not disregard them like they’re simply type of sofa potatoes enjoying at dwelling.
“I feel there’s undoubtedly some actual talent and energy put into it. So I definitely respect it and I will be trustworthy, it has shocked me how good they are often.
“Even when they have not jumped in an actual automotive I feel they might be alright. However the large query is the concern. Can they put the concern apart and know that, OK will that wall harm or no matter? However I feel from a talent viewpoint, it is fairly spectacular.”
However there’s additionally one actually necessary issue that Ricciardo says can’t be crushed in regards to the trendy F1 video games: which is the possibility for him to play himself.
“I pinch myself being in F1, but in addition I pinch myself being within the recreation,” he smiles. “I do know as a child how cool it was, so I type of suppose that any child around the globe might have this recreation of their home and go ‘oh, Daniel Ricciardo, I wish to play him at present’.
“As foolish as that sounds, it fairly cool!”
Daniel Ricciardo in F1 2021
Picture by: Codemasters