Although F1 is a real sport where cars and drivers compete on different tracks around the world, there is also a virtual version of the sport. Those well versed in the world of motorsport must be aware of the virtual version of the sport, but many newcomers may not be.
The FIA Formula One Esports Series is a professional esports event promoted by Formula 1. It was officially created in 2017 and uses the official F1 Video game as a platform. In 2018, teams like Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, etc. took part in the event and created their own esports teams to compete in the virtual championship. Thousands of online racers tried to break into the official teams and compete against each other. Soon the drivers were selected and the first official eSports championship began.
Shortly after the COVID pandemic hit the world, the 2020 F1 main season was put on hold and sporting promoters launched the ‘virtual Grand Prix’ to entertain fans during lockdown. The Virtual GP started with Bahrain, where Zhou Guanyu, the current Alfa Romeo driver, won the race. Apart from Zhou, like drivers George RusselCharles Leclerc and Alex Albon also competed and won races.
Esports series prize money has continued to grow over the years, reaching around $750,000 in 2022. It will be distributed among all 25 players, with winners receiving $93,000.
Brendon Leigh won the first two F1 esports series in 2017 and 2018 followed by David Tonizza in 2019. Jarno Opmeer dominated the esports series in 2020 and 2021 but was overthrown by Lucan Blakeley in 2022. While most fans may not have heard of these drivers, they are superb and extremely talented sim racing drivers.
The FIA could shorten the DRS zones after the 2023 F1 season
After the 2022 F1 season, Nikolas Tombazis is the FIAThe technical director for single-seater cars spoke about how the sport’s governing body is considering reducing the length of the DRS zone on certain routes to slightly increase overtaking difficulties. Acknowledging that drivers can easily overtake at some circuits and how that reduces racing spectacle, he said:
â€œIn some races we actually have to reduce the DRS zones. We don’t want overtaking to be, as we say, inevitable or actually easy. It still has to be fought. When it happens too fast, when you see a car approach and then drive by and disappear, it’s actually worse than being behind and fighting. It takes the right balance to find there.â€
So far, there has been no news from the FIA about reducing the DRS zones on racetracks. With next season just around the corner, we may not see any change in DRS. However, if cars continue to pass easily, the governing body could step in between seasons to make some changes.