2021 Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 is now available on iRacing. The idea that the most successful Formula One team over the past decade could collaborate with the popular racing simulation to make its current car available to users is genuinely incredible.
To start, this isn’t a virtual vehicle in a similar level of detail that you would expect in Codemasters’ officially-licensed Formula One video game series. iRacing’s version of the W12 is an accessible simulation. The physical detail of the car’s model is unparalleled, with every inch of carbon fiber modeled and differing appendages for each of the F1 car’s aerodynamic packages.
The technical detail is just as impressive. Obviously, the fixed gear ratios and drag reduction system are included as mandated by Formula One’s regulations. It goes much deeper than that for those who dare step through the halo into the cockpit. The steering wheel display is almost indistinguishable from its real-life counterpart. The settings for the variable differential and brake bias, along with the deployment modes of the Energy Recovery System, are available within the car. And yes, even “Brake Magic” is available if you want to be just like Lewis Hamilton and lock your front tires into Turn 1 by accident.
Although, there is one significant setback. It is against iRacing’s terms and conditions to change or modify the Mercedes W12’s original livery. Trading Paints, the primary third-party app for custom iRacing liveries, won’t support any template for the car. I don’t know about you, but seeing a virtual F1 race where 20 cars essentially look the same is confusing and disappointing. The only available modifications for the Mercedes W12 are the car number and livery accent color.
The raw performance of the elite Formula One machine goes without saying. It is the fastest real-world open-wheel car on the service, an extraterrestrial starship among go-karts. If the commercial restrictions mean that I can’t personalize my curious misadventures behind the steering wheel of a modern Grand Prix car, so be it. However, this specific limitation will turn many users away from putting serious mileage into the F1 car. iRacing also has an agreement with the Mercedes-AMG F1 Team to bring its 2022 car to the simulation in the future.