“Formula 1 2019”, with which Formula 1 holds its official virtual races, is “more of a game” than a simulation for Philipp Eng. The premier class uses Codemasters’ official video game for its Grand Prix series, which features real drivers as well as celebrities and sim racing professionals, but others have little to do with it.
Max Verstappen had already stated several times that he would never take part in this championship. The Dutchman prefers to drive with real sim racing programs like iRacing, which DTM driver Eng can understand. “There are other platforms that really come closer to a simulator,” the Austrian told ORF Sport +.
Eng was at the start for Red Bull in the virtual Formula 1 race in Bahrain, but is also more likely to be part of the group of more realistic Sim racers. Therefore, he would once again open up a subcategory between simulation and game when it comes to e-sports.
Many pilots are currently dealing with virtual racing. Another Austrian had once made the topic socially acceptable in Formula 1: Alexander Wurz. “I was the first pilot to ever develop and drive a modern simulator with McLaren,” he recalls. “We have learned many things and made great strides that can be found in every Playstation today.”
At the time, however, the simulator did not make him a better racing driver, as he says: “On the contrary. It was very confusing to me. But it was the first steps we took,” said Wurz.
In the meantime, real simulators have become indispensable in Formula 1 and are mainly used to find a better set-up and to check systems. “But reality is not yet beaten, even if the simulators are extremely close nowadays,” says Wurz.