After the HRT Fomula One team folded up at the end of 2012 Pedro de la Rosa was left without a F1 drive for 2013. Known for his many years as a great test and development driver, many expected him to return to his former employer McLaren as their test driver, but in kind of a surprise move he instead joined Ferrari.
Ferrari were not lacking in test and reserve drivers, they have several on the payroll, but Pedro could bring both recent race experience, and before that years of development and testing experience with McLaren, plus hundreds and more likely, thousands of hours spent driving in and developing McLarens F1 simulator, making him a good signing for Ferrari.
With the very limited on track testing in F1 these days, the teams all turn to simulators and simulation technology to test as many things as they can. For the top teams, even on race weekends while the teams are at the race track practicing, qualifying and racing, the data gathered is immediately transmitted back to the team headquarters where test drivers will be hard at work in the teams simulator re-running the completed sessions and testing different setups and options. The conclusions from that testing is then communicated back to the race team at the track, giving them more information from which to make the decisions on how to set the car up, or to help with strategy decisions.
Ferrari has lagged behind with their simulator technology for the last few years, struggling with the data like their well documented struggles to get their wind tunnel data to match up to the on track performance. It’s for this reason they snapped up de la Rosa with his years of experience n the McLaren F1 Simulator, to help them get their simulator program back on track and to the point where the results can be related back to the car on track 100%.
In this interesting video we see the current Ferrari simulator, plus Pedro goes indepth about a lot of the processes and technology behind it all. A good insight for sure.