Just thought I'd give a bit of an update on some of the work we have done on this topic:
1./ Testing through our Handling department and various other able testers on the game, recording comparative times.
2./ As well as my addition to testing, we have taken a random sample of 20,000 times across Career mode on the same tracks with similar car (Would be the same base car, but with differing R&D paths. Over such a large sample size, these would even out towards equal). This includes 10,000 recorded pad times, and 10,000 recorded wheel times.
3./ deeper analysis of the top 100 times recorded in various scenarios and compared percentages of pad times vs wheel times.
We have noticed that, in terms of pure delta and recorded times across various testing methods, there is a variant of around a tenth of a second a lap between wheel times and pad times across all skill levels. This does vary, with some tracks being marginal for a pad user, and some tracks being marginal for the wheel user. Over the course of a F1 season, or even a series of races, they do equal out.
From a Codemasters perspective, our main aim is to make sure pads and wheels can jump into lobbies together and feel that, if they perform at their best in that session, they could get a good result compared to their overall abilities and speed. With the data we have looked at, we believe that this is currently the case.
If people do spot any extreme cases (tracks, setups, game modes) where the difference is large, please give us the examples and we will try to investigate.