back to article Sofa-jockeys given crack at virtual Formula 1 world championship

Formula 1 has announced it's getting into “e-sports”, the preferred phrase for competitive computer gaming, with a new “Formula 1 Esports Series” that will see a virtual F1 champion crowned later this year. Many gamers think their pastime’s enormous following and facilitation of networked competitions makes a legitimate sport …

  1. jake Silver badge

    I'd pay good money ...

    ... to see the "top 20" e-posers try to turn 20 laps of any road course in a real race, in the real cars. One pit stop mandatory. Should be good for a giggle.

    Remember, kiddies, the map is not the territory.

    (Do the kiddies even know what a map is anymore?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd pay good money ...

      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/apr/29/jann-ardenborough-racing-car-games

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GT_Academy

      You're welcome.

      1. PickledAardvark

        Re: I'd pay good money ...

        Don't you love it when the URL reads jann-ardenborough-racing-games when the bloke's name is Jann Mardenborough.

        Jann is talented and he may be an exception or statistical outlier. To evaluate real world skills of games racers, I'd rent a grid of 30 Austin A30/35 saloons from the UK series organisers and participants. No advance training, just know how to drive a road car and turn up on the day.

        Pull the knob to start the engine. The twist lever on the right of the steering wheel operates the headlights and sidelights (what?) not the radio. Err, yes, it is supposed to sound like that when you change into first gear.

        Survivors qualify for an assessment in a full blooded Clubmans sports racers with the engine in front (OK, next to the driver's legs). A Clubmans car is a Lotus 7 after 20 years on steroids and bad attitude.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd pay good money ...

        It looks those pilots never went far... when you drive a real car, besides the physical stress absent when your on an armchair, there's a lot to learn about the car itself, its mechanics and what to tell technician about its behaviour and how to optimize it - and how to cope with its faults, and an environment that is far less "controlled". Especially when your life - and other people's around - is at risk if you fail.

        While a simulator is quick and less expensive way to test which people have the right skill (flight simulators are used for the same reason also), there's a lot more to learn when reality comes in.

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: I'd pay good money ...

        I rather suspect that if you took 450,000 random members of the general public who have never touched a video game and subjected them to the GT Academy methodology, you'd get the exact same number of decent drivers as you get from the self-selected 450,000 gamers ... Bell shaped curve and all that.

        The "winners" of GTA phase one could be picked by any eye/hand coordination and rapid decision making test. All the video game does is weed out folks without that particular inherent ability. I suspect that rapid correct diagnosis, tear-down and reassembly of a random internal combustion engine would work just as well. Competitive modern dance would probably be a better indicator ... But those wouldn't sell video games, now would they?

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: I'd pay good money ...

          "I rather suspect that if you took 450,000 random members of the general public [...] you'd get the exact same number of decent drivers"

          I disagree. While Gran Turismo is, in part, a test of hand-eye coordination (an essential skill for a driver), it also requires the ability to learn, remember, and understand racing lines and braking zones across many courses, and also requires one to know how adjusting things like wing angles, suspension geometry, tire choice, weather etc. affect the way a car handles.

          Simply put, if you were designing a home-based test to find driving ability, a modern racing game would probably be what you ended up with.

          "Competitive modern dance [..] wouldn't sell video games, now would they?"

          Oh yes they do.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I'd pay good money ...

      To save you the effort of following those links, Nissan took a bunch of the best Gran Turismo players, and put them in cars. Several of them have gone on to podium finishes at races like Le Mans.

      So yes, if you're really good at racing games, chances are you'll also make a good driver as well (with some training of course).

      It even got to the point where they weren't allowed to enter the British GT Championship as "gentlemen drivers", because they were actually keeping up with the pro classes.

    3. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: I'd pay good money ...

      Car Racing is the only esport in which your gaming skills have any relevance to the real version of the sport.

      Not that war is a sport, but FPS players won't make good soldiers, they'll likely be dead in the first 2 minutes of any battle. Being good at FIFA, NFL, NHL, NBA etc. games doesn't mean you're any good at the actual sport.

      1. IsJustabloke
        Meh

        Re: I'd pay good money ...

        "Car Racing [game] is the only [game]..."

        FTFY. No charge.

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          Re: I'd pay good money ...

          Game or sport?

          Many moons ago I happened upon a heated debate in which a chess fan was vociferously arguing that chess tournaments and talented UK competitors should be funded by the UK sporting authorities. There have been court cases about this subject. The only part of reading the debate that wasn't a complete waste of precious moments of my life was the definition offered of sport vs game.

          If something can be done by proxy, an expert guiding a player by phone for example, it is a game. If the skill has to lie with the player present it is a sport. This seems right to me. With Steve Davis at my left elbow and John Higgins at my right I'd still have zero chance at the Crucible - Sport. I do not have clue 1 about the rules of Go never mind how to play it but with the right person or AI whispering in my ear I could probably do quite well - Game.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "If something can be done by proxy"...

            So basically any activity that can be outsourced to another country is a game, anything that has to be played in person is a sport?

            That's actually the best definition I've heard. At least that's a lot better than definitions suggesting that sports have sweat potentially involved, or require some level of physical fitness.

          2. Woodgar

            Re: I'd pay good money ...

            "If something can be done by proxy, an expert guiding a player by phone for example, it is a game. If the skill has to lie with the player present it is a sport"

            Sounds like a good definition, but the lines seem a bit blurred when it comes to real-time, fast action sports/games, where waiting to be instructed rather than acting on instinct and experience will be the difference between winning and losing.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I'd pay good money ...

        Car Racing is the only esport in which your gaming skills have any relevance to the real version of the sport.

        The one big difference is that after a shunt, there's no "start over" in the real world. Relevant to the real version only so much. While the simulator can provide training (much like aircraft flight simulators used by the military and airlines) it can only go so far.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    It'd actually mean something if it was to be done on a proper F1 simulation, like rFactor or the Geoff Crammond Grand Prix series. But the Codemasters F1 game? Might as well give them all a Mega Drive with a copy of Micro Machines and test them on that.

  3. 0laf
    Thumb Down

    Yawn-fest

    F1 is deeply boring these days and the idea of an Esports show of people playing at driving a deeply boring sport doesn't really appeal.

    If they're going to show Esports motorsports it would probably be a better idea to do decent coverage of something a bit more dramatic like i.e. a Wipeout style game.

    I did catch some coverage of Rocket League but it was a bloody mess and pretty much unwatchable.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Yawn-fest

      I think I'd rather watch someone playing a racing game than an actual F1 race these days.

  4. Blergh

    I might not mind so much if they were sat in actual simulators. However watching someone sat motionless button bashing just takes the heart out of it all. I want to see them physically doing something more than finger dexterity.

    1. Me2The

      Isn't one of the points of gaming to watch the screen and therefore buy-in to the fantasy, more than watching the person controlling the characters etc.?

      1. toxicdragon

        I tend to watch lets plays of things like GTA and to be honest I like watching people messing about in ways I never really thought of. I apparently lack imagination because I never thought to try to land a helicoper on a train. I now want to.

        Also personally I tend to use lets plays as visual demos for the game, these days, even though it is easier than ever to provide them, most games do not come with demos so a demonstration of the gameplay is a big help.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drone cars

    With guns and gadgets.

    Also: land mines.

    That would be fun, right?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Drone cars

      Time to re-boot Car Wars maybe?

      Edit: I note that this game is still available.

  6. ratfox
    Happy

    They should do the opposite

    I'd pay good money to see a real-world Mario Kart.

    1. Z80

      Re: They should do the opposite

      You can pay good money to kind of do that yourself - search online for AkibaKart.

      Real-world traffic laws apply.

  7. Fink-Nottle

    What virtual F1 lacks

    ... is virtual Murray Walker commentary.

    "With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go."

    1. Bunker_Monkey

      Re: What virtual F1 lacks

      I give you 'Wil Vincent' of RACESPOT TV on Youtube....

      This guy is what Sky and other broadcasters need to hire!

    2. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

      Re: What virtual F1 lacks

      ... is virtual Murray Walker commentary.

      Already been done. I think it was Grand Prix 2 around 20 years ago. Genuine Walker commentary along with the authentic "insightful" comments. The one that comes to mind was when you rammed the car in front. It would lose its back wing. You would lose your front and quite often a wheel too. Virtual Murray would then remark

      "That was almost certainly a collision there..."

  8. Lord M4x

    Funnily enough, yesterday I listened to a radio interview with the Dutch champion of this malarky.

    What I recall from his chat:

    - Last year's prize money was a meeeeeelion euro!

    - The pros (Vettel, Verstappen et al) have also given it a shot and are 'very good' but it doesn't quite work the other way around... due to real G-force and concentration under duress etc..

    So there ya go...

    1. racecraft

      Clarification by a simracing bore

      Just to clarify a few things here, it sounds like you're talking about Bono Huis who won the Las Vegas eRace at CES back in January. Refering to him as "the Dutch champion" in the context of the article is incorrect, as this is the first incarnation of the virtual Formula 1 Championship.

      Bono Huis is a multiple champion of various amateur/semi-professional sim racing championships, including "Formula SimRacing" in which current real-life F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne competed in.

      In winning the Las Vegas eRace (organised by the electric-only racing series "Formula E" not Formula One) he won a sizeable chunk of the US$1,000,000 prize pool (over $250,000 I believe).

      The biggest hotshoe in F1 at the moment is the dutchman Max Verstappen, who is an honourary member of the sim-racing team "Team Redline", the same team as Bono Huis. A video of Max Verstappen practicing in the iRacing.com simulation showed him pulling off an overtaking maneuver at the Belgian racetrack "Spa-Francorchamps" which he replicated in real life at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix causing nerds everywhere to rejoice.

      Also worth mentioning that the Mclaren Formula One Team are currently holding a "World's Fastest Gamer" competition, the winner of which will win a contract to be a test driver in their Formula 1 Simulator at the Mclaren Technology Centre.

      "Simracing" is my thing, sorry to be a bore! :)

      1. djack

        Re: Clarification by a simracing bore

        winner of which will win a contract to be a test driver in their Formula 1 Simulator at the Mclaren Technology Centre.

        That's basically what I do at the moment.... I'm sat in a chair wondering when/if my car will be fixed and emerge from the garage.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tight squeeze

    F1 will make the winner a “character in the F1 2018 game” as “a timeless reminder of his or her accomplishment.”

    What if the winner is a 20 stone 13 year old that can't reach the pedals?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tight squeeze

      'What if the winner is a 20 stone 13 year old that can't reach the pedals?'

      F1 cars don't have pedals, paddle gear shifts behind steering wheel only

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tight squeeze

        Eh? They've still got a brake and accelerator

        1. Pascal

          Re: Tight squeeze

          > Eh? They've still got a brake and accelerator

          F1's really high tech now, they scream engine / braking onomatopoeia into their helmet microphone for that.

          Vroooom, Vroooooooooom, Vrooooooooooooom, Vroooooooooooooooooooooom!

          Screeeeech!

          Vroooooooooom!

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Tight squeeze

      What if the winner is a 20 stone 13 year old that can't reach the pedals?

      A typre barrier with a face?

    3. nblake

      Re: Tight squeeze

      Online gamers usually are, dont forget swears constantly and hurls abuse at everyone else in the game

      1. djack

        Re: Tight squeeze

        dont forget swears constantly and hurls abuse at everyone else in the game

        Why does that make them unfit? You could almost believe that the team radio conversations are in morse code!

  10. hatti

    Checkered flag

    The winner will empty a family bag of Doritos and a tube of Pringles over the fans as a champagne substitute

  11. Ucalegon
    Trollface

    Drugs

    It won't become an Olympic event without a drug programme.

  12. Andytug

    Will last until someone cheats by using a bot

    Will they have to have bot-testing in the same way that real sport have drug testing?

    1. jaduncan

      Re: Will last until someone cheats by using a bot

      It's in person. They don't control the hardware.

  13. nblake

    Will they be able to use cheats

    I loved this game when it was originally released, built up a group of people to play with online. Then new releases killed it with the game features and cars way to complicated to setup. Nearly all the winning players I went up against were using cheats in the setups to win. It lost its simulation appeal and just became another online game that belonged to real world losers who cheated within the game and enjoyed rubbing it in. This game lost its appeal a long time ago. A real pity.

  14. mediabeing

    Gee, I thought crack was illegal. Wow.

    Maybe a different word should have been used.

  15. rc_jimberley

    I don't want to be *that* guy

    The game is out this weekend (August) so although tied in with this competition, it's not as entirely shameless as suggested. And to be fair, I'd rather have a shot at a competition to take me to Abu Dhabi than get a pre-order bonus of a "special colour" helmet or something like many other games who want you to buy the game on launch.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like