A while ago I wrote “The Art of Testing”, where I explain how one problem with getting feedback from drivers, is that the results they get aren’t in my opinion reliable. Developing a car is complicated, and when someone comes to you and says “This was so much faster, easier”, whatever, it has to be taken with a grain of salt. In the end I need to do everything myself, so to a large extent feedback is not required, until I want to verify my findings.
I got the idea for this post because today at the track I was verifying some of my findings. What I like to do is watch another driver drive so I get an idea how they drive their car, and then either give my car to them, or if they are running a JQ already, have them adjust something that I want to test, on their car. In both cases I then watch them on the track to see the difference, and then ask them what they thought. I first ask what they thought in general, and don’t let them know what my specific interest is, as I want to see if it was a big enough point that they mention it themselves. Let’s say I think my car, or a setting makes the car exceptionally fast in hairpins. I won’t ask how was the car in hairpins, but I will be hoping they mention it. This way I will know that I have found something others agree on too. If they don’t mention the things I was looking for, I will ask more precise questions, but without guiding them as to what the answer should be.
I also like to get feedback from different skill levels. I think complete beginners aren’t valuable, some people may disagree, but there is no value for me in that. Every person will be different, it’s irrelevant. What I look for is someone who is new enough to where they can drive around the track consistently, but are still relatively inexperienced as far as setup goes. I also have someone test that is a national level driver, this way I get a broader range of feedback. The car will also be driven in a different way so I can actually tell what the car is doing on the track. The less experienced a driver is, the longer it will take them to adjust to the car, and you can tell what it is doing wrong, or different easier than if a very good driver was driving it.
So there you go, there is more to it than you think isn’t there.