Norris keen to exploit virtual advantage on track

If there’s anything that characterises the new generation taking over in Formula 1, it’s the way that young drivers such as Lando Norris are immersed in virtual and online racing simulations.

Norris told the official website this week that the technology was enabling him to carry on racing all the time, and that this was boosting his real life performance on track at race weekends.

“I pretty much do racing non-stop,” he explained. “I drive at the track, and when I get home I play on my simulator

  • Brown impressed with one big quality displayed by Norris

Even on a rare day off from the office, Norris estimated that he spent “eight or nine hours” on the simulator.

“I love doing it,” the teenager said. “It’s a passion for wanting to learn different things, to just constantly drive and become better at what I do.

“I’m always involved in something to do with racing and driving so my involvement is higher than most.”

In a very real sense, Norris owes his current full-time position in F1 to his skill at performing in simulators.

He recalled a particularly gruelling 18-hour stint at the McLaren Technology Centre in 2017 over the Japanese Grand Prix race weekend. While the team was in Suzuka, Norris was in Woking and working in the advanced simulator to help develop race strategies.

“I remember I spent the day at the MTC on Thursday and then headed home for a few hours’ sleep before heading back at midnight,” Norris said. “I didn’t finish until around 6pm, so that was a long day!

“But I learned so much from doing sessions like that,” he continued. “In that role, you’re spending hours and hours in the simulator doing all the correlations, giving feedback and suggesting what the team can do trackside.

“That was great for me, because it helped prepare me for now.”