Russell unblurs the real/sim racing lines

Date published: May 9 2020

George Russell Williams

George Russell says sim racing and real racing are like FIFA and football, all the skills can’t be transferred across the two.

In the absence of real-life racing Russell is among a host of other real-life racing stars such as Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button who have turned their attention to virtual racing and found quick success.

This then begs the question of whether a sim racer could swap into a Formula 1 car and be competitive? But Russell dismissed that idea.

“For me it is like with the FIFA computer game and real-life football,” he told BBC Sport.

“The best Fifa player in the world would probably beat Lionel Messi on the game but put him on the football pitch and they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

For Russell though the biggest difference between the two isn’t skill, it’s “fear”.

“The biggest difference is you don’t quite have that sense of speed or fear,” he confirmed.

“Obviously when you drive at around 200 miles per hour around a track you know that if you make a mistake you can be in the wall and there can be big consequences whereas on a computer game you can hit restart and you go again.

“Since I was seven I have known what speed feels like.

“That sense of speed and what it feels like to manoeuvre a car, your body just learns that. You build these senses over time.

“I know some of these top esport racers are doing simulator work for F1 teams and they are doing a good job but you need to have that feel when you get in a car and in a simulator you don’t have that sense of speed or feel the tyres.

“The tyres do definitely drop off during the race on the F1 game which is good because that is realistic but you just don’t have that feel. When you are in a real car you are feeling everything through your backside.”

But, Russell does want to see how the eracers would get on in a real F1 car.

“These top gamers in the F1 world are incredibly fast gamers and it is really impressive to see, I would definitely be interested to see how they would get on once in an F1 car,” he said.

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