Formula 1 should have eRaces! At least one current Formula One boss is calling for eSport events to be held during Grand Prix weekends. Torro Rosso team principal, Franz Tost, who was quoted in a recent article on Autosport.com, believes that F1 could take a leaf out of the FIA Formula E’s book and stage international virtual competitions to mirror the real life event being held on a particular weekend. Tost put forward an idea to hold an international eSport / eRace event on the Sunday morning of a race. This eRace would involve a global broadcast covering competitions prior to the race start.
Torro Rosso Team Principal, Franz Tost’s suggestion for possible eSport in F1:
Why not have Sunday morning an eGame with a big broadcast where people worldwide are involved to increase the interest? The eGame would work simply in that there’s a game and companies would be involved in eGames and say look. For example, we race in Abu Dhabi with exhibitions from different countries and let’s see where they end up. Young people are not so much interested in cars and we must see a way to bring them into Formula 1.
The recent $1,000,000 Formula E eRace held in Las Vegas is an indication of what is possible when the two disciplines come together to stage an event that involves real world drivers competing against the best sim racers in the world. Although, the execution of the Vegas event did not live up to everyone’s expectations. The sheer spectacle and scale of the eRace and the amount of attention the event received from established media outlets and News organisations shows us that the concept is certainly a valid one.
Formula One as a racing series has fallen behind the times when it comes to attracting new and younger audiences. The take over of Formula One by the American owned company, ”Liberty Media” will usher in many new ideas for increasing the popularity of the sport amongst younger viewers. Currently, pay per view television is more or less the only way Formula One is distributed around the world. Formula One fans wishing to watch televised Grand Prix races who do not have access to pay per view are essentially cut out of the equation. This type of broadcasting has led to the current decline in audience numbers around the world.
Today, it was announced that the current chief of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone has been asked to step down, Ecclestone now in his mid 80s held onto a rather outdated set of beliefs for maintaining interest in what many consider, the apex of motorsport. His exit paves the way for new ideas that will most certainly involve eSports and eRaces in some form moving forward.
Just how eSport will develop and flourish under a possible partnership is not immediately clear. Although, with the popularity of Twitch and Youtube gaming channel viewerships increasing daily, the possibilities and potential audiences are there for Formula One to capitalise on with a structured digital form of the highest category in motorsports. The fact that one team principal has already given his backing to an involvement with eSports and sim racing, is definitely a positive step in bringing the two worlds together!