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Inside the top secret facility that Hamilton uses before every F1 race

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FORMULA ONE simulator facilities are normally off limits with so many secrets held.

Indeed, the Mercedes simulator is used by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell before each race weekend to replicate on-track conditions and propose improvements.

Hamilton has been using the simulator ahead of his final season with Mercedes

Behind every great race driver is a huge support team of designers, engineers, computer wizards and mechanics making sure the car is at its peak on track.

And the Mercedes workers are the unsung heroes, ploughing in huge hours to bring the Silver Arrows back to the top, but staying out of the spotlight.

A F1 simulator is a revolutionary, multi-million-pound piece of machinery that allows for the improvement of cars without the need to test on location, saving significant resources, energy and finances.

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The Mercedes simulator lives within its own private room tucked away at Brackley, where a closed door reads: “Strictly no admittance. Authorised personnel only.”

Performance and Simulator Zhao-Ming Lee told BBC Sounds: “Not, many people get to see these facilities.

“I’d like to think that the conditions in here are very close those on track. One of the measures of that is how often the race drivers come in to do these sessions themselves.

“It used to be quite a luxury for the drivers come, maybe a few times a year, if that.

“But during the last few years, we’ve seen the drivers come before each race weekend.

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“So they clearly have the faith in our tools and in the fact that the simulator does feel like reality.

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“George Russell was in last week. We set up the car he drove in reality around Abu Dhabi.

“We replicated it in the sim and I got his feedback on what is good, what isn’t and what needs working on.

“When George and Lewis come in for a pre-event session, they’ll bring their engineers with them.

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“Quite often the drivers’ engineers will look through the data, as if it’s track data and look where the car is good or bad, at particular corner phases.”

In fact, all F1 teams use the vertical car to prepare for every track.

Williams driver Logan Sargeant told BBC F1 podcaster Sarah Holt: “I was doing a vertical lap of Bahrain.

“It’s a good tool to get back into the swing of things, and learn new tracks.

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“It’s not the same driving the sim to real life. You want it to be as close as it can be, but in the end the feelings and sensations are a little different.”

American star Sargeant,21, and senior engineer Gaetan Jego worked together for a total of 35 days on the simulator complex last season, which is a lot time to fit in around the race weekends.

Jego added: “The beauty of this, is that a set of changes takes five minutes, but on the tracks themselves, a change will take 2 to 3 hours. You can explore anything in a short period of time.”

The 2024 F1 season returns this weekend at the Bahrain GP.

Logan Sargeant will race for Williams at Saturday's Bahrain GP

Source: The Sun

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