Max Verstappen feels that the skills he has developed in sim racing prove helpful when he is back behind the wheel of an F1 car.
The Dutchman is one of several drivers who enjoy taking part in online racing during their downtime, with Verstappen having recently again participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
While he suggested that he wouldn't return to the event after connection problems forced him to withdraw, Verstappen remains a part of Team Redline, the outfit that he regularly competes for in sim racing.
According to Verstappen, taking part in different categories of motorsport online can have a positive influence when he returns to the real thing.
Verstappen: Sim racing skills 'help' in F1
"The main thing is that on all the simulator platforms, I race non-Formula 1 cars," Verstappen told the Washington Post.
"So, you have to be adaptive and change your driving style,
since every car demands something else as far as steering input,
throttle and driving lines.
"I'm constantly learning and adapting to what I need to do in each car to go as quick as possible.
the end of the day, that helps you when you go back to Formula 1,
because you have all of this experience in the back of your mind.
"Sometimes you might not be entirely happy with the set-up of your Formula 1 car, but you can draw on all of your different experiences in the simulator."
In response to the suggestion that this makes him a "more well-rounded racer", Verstappen said: "That’s exactly what I’m trying to achieve."
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Differences between sim racing and F1
Despite this, Verstappen acknowledges that there are some big differences between sim racing and Formula 1.
"You really do miss the G-force," the Red Bull driver said in regards to the adaptation from real-life F1 to being on the sim.
"And in real racing, a lot relies on what you feel through the wheel. I must say, though, that simulators are getting quite accurate – I would say it's now 90 per cent accurate to a real race car."
Verstappen believes that making the step in the other direction – from sim racing to real-life racing – is a difficult one.
"I still think that for people who grew up only using a simulator, it's quite a big step to go straight into real-world racing," he added.
"But we've seen that happen before, so nothing is impossible.
"Another key difference is there is a certain physicality to real racing – you need to be fit and well trained. On a simulator, even if you don't have that, you can still manage to be really quick."
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