Norris: Esports will produce new F1 drivers in future

2019 F1 season

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Lando Norris says future Formula 1 drivers could begin their careers in Esports.

The McLaren driver, who also competes in simracing for Team Redline, said the standard of racing simulators is improving all the time.

“In the future I think you can get people who start in Esports and come over,” he said.

“I don’t think they can go straight from Esports to Formula 1, they would have to still do some steps: F3, F2 and so on. But I think there’s already been some drivers who have proved that having skills on the simulator can translate very well onto the actual race track.

“The better the simulators get and everything then the higher the chance of something like that happening.”

Norris said he is impressed the amount of effort simracers put into refining their driving.

“You can obviously test a lot more in Esports than you can doing real testing and real driving. The thing you realise with some of the good drivers like Daniel [Bereznay, Alfa Romeo F1 ESports driver] and all of the Esports are the hours that they put in.

“The days of testing, every day for weeks, that’s the impressive thing. And that’s what you need to be able to do is constantly adjust the setup, improve your driving compared to your team mates and do that for weeks, basically.

“That’s the impressive thing and even for me to see someone who spends so much time trying to find hundredths and thousandths and so on, that’s what makes them so good.”

The 2019 F1 Esports Pro Series Grand Final will take place on December 4th.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Norris: Esports will produce new F1 drivers in future”

    1. I fancy the subtle detail of this interview coming out right after Lewis Hamilton’s where he complained about the tradition real-life version being too expensive for young talent from non-wealthy backgrounds.
      Lando is spot on on this one. That’s exactly the answer to Lewis’ plea. I’d like to see more esports talent making their way into racing actual cars, and I’m sure that’s what’s going to happen in the future.

      1. @johnbeak there are probably far more now but the only one I know of is Jann Mardenborough who has been decidedly average imo. Definitely worthy of a seat in professional motorsport, but not worthy of a seat in f1.

      2. José Lopes da Silva
        25th November 2019, 9:53

        Precisely, and hopefully.

      3. Lando is actually one of those rich kids haha.
        And his brother has a racing simulator company. :P

        Not saying this in a negative context, just a few facts lol Just proves its a talented family who also knows how to do business.

        He is the real deal and i’m a huge fan.

    2. You can do Sim racing for around 1.000 EUR, 2.000 euro for a decent setup, and then price goes up from there.

      This is within the realm of what a parent can buy for kids easily. Compare that to a Go-kart. Used karts go for 4.000 EUR, Then there is maintenance, track fees, travel expenses to the track and back. And to be good you need to practice every day few hours.

      This requires one parent to abandon their career mostly and drive kid around to and from events.

      Meanwhile esports? Easy. bring kid some food, get them to bed early, help them with school and then let them drive like maniacs on whatever platform they want.

      Some of these kids will be better than their karting rich kid counterparts. Only a matter of time till Esport weeds out true talents from the rest.

      1. As @johnbeak mentions above, simracing will probably be (part of) the answer to enabling more normal income kids with talent and dedication to get into motorsport @jureo, since the cost difference for a season is staggering and some of it really does help prepare them to get closer to real racing.

        I do hope it works to unlock the enormous potential for superb racing drivers that is out there in the world, to replace the all too common “put in enough money to get there” at least in part.

      2. I feel like sim racing would be a good training but the kids would still need real world experience. Sim racing doesn’t prepare people for the g force you feel when going fast in a cart or the athletic part of motorsport. Kids would still need real world practice

    3. No, they wont

      1. Yes, they will

    4. they’d still need to do some steps like karting, formula ford, F3, F2..

      1. But simracing allows many guys to learn basics, and proper techniques, understand setups more.
        It’s a great fun, and one of the best gaming hobbies if you like realtime things, and if you like
        to be rewarded or punished instantly for your actions.

        Of course there are differences, you cannot factor out that you can do a really hot lap without
        any danger, and there are bugs and so on.

        But nice simulators are very sophisticated now. They are not for the average. Sadly most of the
        gaming industry’s products are made based on statistical analysis to create something what fits
        the broadest audience possible. This results in a lower skill ceiling, and a flatter learning curve.
        As a veteran gamer I don’t like this tendency, as it said in Jurassic park : “life finds a way”, so
        challenging and well made games will make it to the top anyway.
        Sadly this safe strategy is applied to most of the games today, even to many allegedly simulator
        games too. I have heard proven racers saying new and popular F1 201x games from Codemasters
        are a bit too easy in terms of driveability and traction. Although setting fuel mix, and brake balance
        a lot of times / lap is a lot to do while going fast.

        I look for a bit more simlike ones, I turn all assists off, use an agressive differential setup, and
        even if i’d never try pro racing IRL, I enjoy it so much. It’s very cool to experiment to find my
        own setups too, and to understand different kinds of cars. It’s just enjoyable to drive
        fast and safe by itself.

      2. RocketTankski, Norris does make that point, hence why he seems to be positioning the idea of sim racing as something in parallel to conventional motorsport, not as a direct substitute (such as using sim racing to garner attention from the young driver programmes of teams to win support).

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      25th November 2019, 9:53

      We can just hope this will happen.

    6. I hope this could happen. It still won’t bring a career in motorsport within the range of all kids but it would definitely widen the net.

    7. I doubt it. Instead I find it far more likely that eSports will replace actual motor racing.

      Once the advertising revenue shifts there and prize money goes up even more, the FIA and Liberty will see their opportunity to go truly “green” by eliminating those pesky fuel burning cars and logistics.

    8. Young childeren learn really fast and if they are put in a kart from early age, the body will automatically grows up with racing “feeling.” That happens with a lot of sports and the older you get, the less efficiënt it becomes. In a sport where hundreds of seconds matter, this advantage is really hard to overcome with just sim racing training.

      F3 and F2 give very little time for practice and you get thrown in races almost right away with racing vets. I don’t see how an esport racer could compete with others who have already done many races and most likely fought the same guys on track for years and know them very well. It’s not impossible, but simracers start with a disadvantage that is hard to overcome.

    9. A Le Mans winner was discovered via Gran Turismo and the virtual to reality competition they did. Of course an F1 winner will one day come from sim racing. I mean, every talented racer will be honing their skills on sims anyway, but absolutely will there be people who gain notoriety because of sims and get their breakthrough that way. Already happened.

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