F1 considering using gamers to trial new rules
Formula 1 is considering a plan to use top gamers to help trial new rules in a virtual world to see what changes actually work.
As F1's chiefs continue evaluating what direction they want to take the sport in the future, motorsport managing director Ross Brawn says one of the key things being looked at now is how to make the racing better.
And he says one way to ensure that mistakes are not made by introducing aero concepts or different sporting rules that make things worse is to test them first.
He has suggested that with racing games now so sophisticated – and engines like rFactor and rFPro being used as the basis for some motorsport simulators – that it is possible to test new ideas with some top gamers before they get trialled in the real world.
Speaking at the F1 Live event in London on Wednesday, Brawn said: "Where we are looking at improving the racing in the future, there is a huge community of eRacers out there through whom we could potentially put different environments and different changes to the way we race.
"We can get them to tell us whether the racing has improved or not.
"In the eRacing community, if we change the aero property of the cars and that is fed into their community, does that create a better race or not from their experience?
"It is not that far removed from the simulators the real teams use. A lot of the F1 teams use software generated from the games industry to give a more realistic environment for their driver simulators. There is scope in that area as well, which we are exploring."
Brawn said one of the tasks that his team have been working on is getting to the bottom of understanding what is the type of racing that fans actually like.
"At the moment we are trying to understand what makes a good race: what is it that makes a great race," he said. "It is not just overtaking. You can have a great race without overtaking.
"If you have two cars fighting each other for the majority of the race, there may not be overtaking but there can be a great race. The proximity of those cars is something which is a factor in making a great race.
"We are mining all the information that exists in F1 to start to build a vision of what makes great racing, and what makes great on track action, and which tracks consistently produce great races."
Brawn has also hinted that F1 is working hard on plans for a virtual F1 game, where fans can take part in a grand prix live.
"One of the things we will be taking a serious look at is eRacing engaging with the race itself," he said.
"So how do we create the environment where we have a live event going on and the fans are racing their cars in that race.
"So, for example, a safety car is called and they have to react in their environment to that. The potential for that is huge."
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