Thanks to these highly accurate simulation tools, the engineers can do a lot of preparation work for a new circuit at the factory, allowing the track-side part of the operation to focus on tyre and strategy work rather than having to concentrate on set-up alone.
In preparation of a race weekend at a track that F1 visits regularly, teams will look at data from previous years to learn from past experiences. However, this data has a certain expiration date.
For example, one of the aspects that the team tries to understand before heading to a race is the specific energy management and the deployment maps which the track layout requires. That renders data from before the hybrid era obsolete in preparation of a new race.
From a driver's perspective, coming to a new track is a bit different though. While drivers can use the simulator to learn the layout of a track, they tend to find more lap time on a new track than they usually find over the course of a race weekend, as they experiment with brake points, racing lines and cornering speeds.