Valtteri Bottas has insisted Alfa Romeo has "catching up to do" with Mercedes in regard to its simulator facility.
F1's new regulations this season have placed importance on development work back at the factory and with restrictions placed on wind tunnel and CFD testing, simulators are becoming a crucial tool.
Teams often utilise development drivers during race weekends to work with data relayed from the live cars at the event, whilst the race drivers can try to find solutions themselves during weeks away from the circuit.
Bottas made the switch to Alfa Romeo over the winter with the Hinwil-based team's simulator still in its infancy compared to its rivals.
"Nowadays, of course, the simulators are hugely important with a lack of testing and as the technology improves, you can get more and more out of it," explained Bottas.
"The first time I tried the Alfa Sauber simulator, I could feel that there was quite a difference to the one at Mercedes because Mercedes started a long, long time ago and our team, we only started a few years ago.
"So of course, there's catching up to do."
Alfa Romeo simulator "hugely improved"
Bottas began work with Alfa Romeo at the end-of-season test in Abu Dhabi last year and has overseen a turnaround in fortunes for the team as the new era of F1 has gotten underway.
Despite the work needed to improve the simulator in a similar vein to the on-track performance, the Finn insisted: "From the first time I tried it versus what it is now it's already hugely improved and it has been already this year, especially the last couple of events, a really useful tool to kind of support the race weekend.
"So that's always a driver at the factory during the race weekend doing also similar setup tests and doing the correlation and it's been rapid progress on that and that keeps going and it is already really good tool.
"There are still improvements to be made and obviously I've given my part to it based on my experience and I'm sure it has helped as well and like, for example, this weekend it was really useful to get to know the track and actually try a few different set-ups or wing levels so you get a bit of an idea and before coming here."