Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2020

Verstappen “will never join” Virtual Grand Prix series

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen makes it clear there’s no chance of him joining F1’s virtual grand prix series in future.

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This weekends Caption Competition winner is Derek:

Fans, Suzuka, 2019

Fearing that the 2020 season might be very badly delayed indeed, Renault assess their driver options.
Derek Edwards

Thanks to everyone who came up with caption idea this week and a special mention to Phylyp, Cyberaxiom, TFLB and Pat Ruadh who all came up with particularly good captions.

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On this day in F1

Michele Alboreto, Ferrari, Jacarepagua, 1985
Michele Alboreto, Ferrari, Jacarepagua, 1985
  • 35 years ago today Michele Alboreto took pole position for the season-opening Brazilian Grand Prix at Jacarepagua in his Ferrari

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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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51 comments on “Verstappen “will never join” Virtual Grand Prix series”

  1. I’m a lot more interested in knowing that Max has a second secret account in iRacing which he uses to “grind some iRating” meaning he spends time just joining public races and beating the hell out of everybody (surely)!

    1. Can somebody get a full list of participants of iRacing yesterday evening around that time.
      And then slowly eliminate all of those who ever raced at the same time as Verstappen.

    2. I used to play iRacing like 10 years ago, and when the Williams F1 came to the sim i was on a server with about 15 people on Lime Rock Park – i know, what a car/track combination lmao!, someone called ‘Lewis Hamilton’ joined the server (and as far as i am aware, you can only sign up with the name on your bank card when subscribing), everyone kept asking if it was ‘really him’ and he didn’t reply to anyone, his lap times blew everyone else away, like seconds faster than us all, on such a small circuit, then he just said ‘Kerbs are very slippy’ and left the server.

      I’ve always wondered… :]

      1. fake or not,
        it’s a cool story you got

        1. :-) Indeed.

  2. It is an amazing story of what David had to go through just to get his own name back. How amazing would it be to see the Brabham name back in F1 or at Le Mans one day. And even better with a Brabham in the car. Matt is an exceptional talent that simply lacks the funds and by all accounts Sam is just as good, if not better.

    We Aussies can dream i guess :)

  3. Some interesting stuff in the Zak Brown article on the BBC:

    Brown says all teams have now agreed to lower the budget cap to $150m (£122m) in 2021 but he believes it has to come down further.

    “You have everyone at $150m, and the strong majority – including one of the big teams – willing to come substantially under $150m,” he said. Brown would not name teams, but BBC Sport understands the big team accepting of a lower cap are Mercedes, while Ferrari and Red Bull are resistant.

    Those arguing in favour of keeping the budget cap up at $150m argue that many of the smaller teams are not even spending that much, so lowering it would not help them survive financially. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told BBC Sport in an interview last week that the budget cap was “secondary” and that “reducing the cost to go racing” was more important.

    1. Don’t forget who you are reading. Benson is a bit… unreliable.

    2. I’ll always remain part of the argument that F1 doesn’t need a budget cap because it has the potential to raise enough money itsself, once it finally gets the formula of car right..
      F1 used to bring a lot more money and fans when it was boring as hell, imagine how much money it can bring in, when it isn’t…

      Also I think it is a bit ridiculous that manufacturing sports team have got a smaller budget than a Premier League football. 11 guys kicking against a ball is more expensive than hunderds of people designing, engineering and manufacturing prototypes…

      1. antony obrien
        6th April 2020, 10:27

        sadf1 fan. Your argument makes zero sense. The whole problem is f1 teams cant raise enough money. They are either funded by car manufacturers or they are struggling to pay the bills. This leads to massive disparity in performance and with almost zero unreliability you get no upsets. THATS why the cap is coming in. The analogy with football is almost not worth commenting on. But, they pay astronomical wages, they have maybe 40-50 players on their books and they have to run a stadium, will suffice.

        Anyway this ship has sailed, the cap is coming and I hope they lower it further as Zak has mused upon.

      2. SadF1fan, I won’t go as far as saying your argument ‘makes zero sense’ but you miss a major difference between F1 and Premier League.
        The Premier League has ‘fairly fair’ distribution of income amongst the teams. Thus teams have more money to start off with and spending will be closer to the top teams to buy and develop their players (engineers and cars for F1).
        Also the Premier League does not divert a major part of its income to an external owner, but keeps it in the sport.

        I’m convinced that if the money distribution in F1 would be similar to the EPL, and even better that the teams would also have an equity stake in FOM, then the budget cap would not be needed. It would self regulate as the teams would not need a major backer and could become independent enterprises.

    3. the budget cap was “secondary” and that “reducing the cost to go racing” was more important.

      What does this mean?
      Or is it Benson again stringing some sense into confusion.

      1. @peartree – oh, is he? I didn’t know that. I assumed that since it’s the BBC it could be taken at face value. Good to know though, for the future.

        @coldfly – since it’s Horner’s statement, I’d guess he’s working an angle. Maybe expecting Liberty to contribute towards travel and logistics? Or, remember that teams pay the promoter for some kit at the fly-away races (it came up in the motorhomes discussion)? Maybe he wants Liberty to pick up the tab for that.

        1. Had to look it up and this is the interview with Horner, @phylyp.
          He’s quoted as:

          There is positive and healthy discussion going on among all the teams to be responsible. And it’s not just about the cap.
          The cap is a ceiling. It is almost secondary as far as I’m concerned, it is reducing the cost in order to go racing. With, let’s say, 60% of the chassis frozen for the next 18 months, that will have a dramatic effect on reducing the operational costs of a Grand Prix team, whether that be for Red Bull or Williams.

          He seems to be making a point that in the short term he prefers freezing certain components of the car, so the teams cannot spend money on those.
          And of course this is not altruism, but his preference to cut costs in the short term and allow the big teams to outspend and outdevelop the smaller teams when this is all over and/or ‘pre-spend’ to gain an advantage on the next generation car.

          1. @coldfly – thank you for that, good to have that interview referenced.

            And you’re right, his reasoning is sensible. And even if it isn’t altruistic, it’s definitely better than my tinfoil theory!

            I wonder if they can cap CFD/wind tunnel work specifically on the 2022 cars (instead of just the current cap for a season) to prevent such a tactic from defeating the very point of a budget cap.

      2. @coldfly Budget cap is the maximum one can race with.

        The other concept I believe is being discussed is the minimum required to race.

  4. Nice caption, Derek. In fact, I was amused by all the entries, so a ‘well done’ to Keith for choosing a nice and wholesome picture.

    1. Well done to the runners up as well; they deserve a (small print) reproduction of their caption.

  5. Pulling for Bobby V!!! Terrible setback but hope he pulls through it!

  6. Maybe Max should just chill. Everyone knows its goofy fun, but also awesome having current or former F1 drivers do it with all the pro commentary. Max and Pierre Gasly are two guys I want to see. It would be great, come on. I already got my wish for the next one with George Russell also joining.

    1. Max was pretty chilled… basically just having a laugh about Lando’s problems. Headline makes his comments sound more dramatic than they were (as headlines are supposed to do!).

      1. In the past, Max has said in Dutch media that the Codemasters game isn’t a SIM. It’s totally incomparable with RFactor, Assetto Corsa or iRacing. It’s more like Forza or Gran Turismo that you can play with a controller.

        1. True that. Basically there are three tiers: Arcade, sim light and sim. F1 game is in the middle tier with Forza and Gran Turismo yes. I can imagine that a F1 driver will limit himself to rFactor, iRacing and Assetto Corsa. I know Max is even critical on those sims as well as on his RedBull simulator. I guess it needs F1 drivers feedback to be able to improve these already good sims.

  7. And that’s good. iRacing is better for virtual-driving purposes anyway.

  8. This whole thing is very eye-opening about what series and which drivers actually care about the fans of the sport.

    1. Not true at all. The F1 game as a platform is horrendous and I have no clue why someone would enjoy watching professional drivers driving around like farmers on their tractors. Button, Russell and also others cutting corners and driving on the curbs – is that an essence of driving? Hardly. Verstappen has every right not to participate in such a cheaf show.

  9. I wish they were on iRacing and made it more serious (even with money involved) but…
    Having watched both indy and F1 races, I found the latter much more entertaining tbh. They still need to get rid of Ben Stokes, but at least there were less joke drivers this time. I also watched Leclerc’s live stream which was great. They also need to show replays somehow.

    But .. agree with Hazel. Going to a studio is not essential travel and they should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      6th April 2020, 10:03

      I much preferred the Indy iRacing version myself. It gave off an air of legitimacy with a better platform, more real life drivers, better presentation and 2020 liveries.
      The F1 broadcast was fun, but it was a bit of a clown show.

      1. @fullcoursecaution @fer-no65 I’m the opposite & find the F1 virtual GP’s to be more fun/enjoyable than the Indycar one’s.

        The Indycar one’s are presented in a more realistic & serious way but I know i’m not watching a real life race so don’t want it to be presented as if it was. The less serious, More fun approach that F1 have gone for is something I just find a lot more enjoyable & the direction i’d prefer to see it continue down.

        I’ll keep watching the F1 things done as they are but don’t plan to watch anymore of the Indycar one’s.

    2. @john-h I prefered the Indy race. The F1 guys were having a laugh, not taking it seriously at all, which is fine by itself if that’s the premise. But as a race, it was meh… the game is just horrible.

      On iRacing they had their spotters and engineers chatting and deciding strategy. Made it look very professional. I watched Newgarden’s stream and it was very serious. But I also enjoyed Conor Daly just laughing his arse off

    3. @john-h I prefered the Indy race. The F1 guys were having a laugh, not taking it seriously at all, which is fine by itself if that’s the premise. But as a race, it was meh… the game is just horrible.

      On iRacing they had their spotters and engineers chatting and deciding strategy. Made it look very professional. I watched Newgarden’s stream and it was very serious. But I also enjoyed Conor Daly just laughing his butt off

    4. @fullcoursecaution @fer-no65
      I think I need to get some better additional streams going for the next Indy race, thanks for the tips. I dunno, I really wanted to find it more interesting, but for some reason I couldn’t. It would be nice to see some static cameras in iRacing too, the camera angles do become a little stale. Maybe it’s just my poor attention span :)

      …And indeed, I know codemasters is a bit of a joke arcade game. I hope they can get out of whatever contract is signed and get on iRacing at some point.

  10. Ron Dennis is inching slowly towards a knighthood with donations to the NHS, and he would be very deserving of recognition.
    “Dream Chasing Foundation” is news to me. So his James Bond activities at the ministry of defence leave him time for other ventures. At 72, you’d think Ron was getting tired of dream chasing and might want to do some dream ‘realising’ for a change. Last dream realised was 2008, and it wasn’t exactly plain sailing…

  11. I don’t understand why F1 does not simply order drivers to show up for virtual races.

    They will now ship a simulator to Nico Rosberg to Malta! Just to get more relevant racers online.

    All the top drivers are such hipocretes. They say they love racing, but they only do it in F1 where they are the greatest in the world. Lewis Hamilton for example can only go backwards in every other category of motorsport, considering how great he is in F1, there is a chance, he might not be as good as some Lando Norris, who practices more.


    1. I don’t understand why F1 does not simply order drivers to show up for virtual races.

      @jureo – I presume it’s because their contracts don’t cover such a scenario, and that’s because the people drafting the contracts never envisaged such a situation. Remember the first F1 fan festival in London? Attendance there also couldn’t be compelled because FOM had no such hold over the drivers (something they might address for the 2021 contracts with the teams).

      It’s a shame that we don’t see the “old guard” of F1 online in these games, but I think that’s more a generational thing, with the younger ones doing it for pleasure, and the older ones only likely to do it if it was seen to provide an advantage on the real-world track.

    2. All the top drivers are such hipocretes. They say they love racing

      I think you need to learn the definition of hypocrite, you aren’t using that word correctly.

    3. @jureo because, as many others have noted, it is an indictment of the Codemasters official game – which the more serious end of the sim racing community thinks is a half-hearted cash grab by a developer that has a reputation for producing buggy games and has been mostly rehashing the same stuff over the past few years.

      In fact, you should be rather well aware of the fact that the Codemasters games aren’t that great – because you yourself were lambasting them for being poor games only a few days ago (and not the first time either).

      1. I have infact deleted F1 from my PC, it is simply not a sim. But I am a civilian, I do not get paid 40 million per year to entertain F1 fans.

        1. @jureo it seems strange that you yourself are doubling down on your condemnation of that game by pouring scorn on it because it is “not a sim” and admit to deleting it out of a dislike of the game, as that only seems to reinforce my point.

          Why should you expect somebody else to be obliged to have to play a game that you dislike and you are actively discouraging others from playing? We’ve seen how some drivers, such as Verstappen, quite clearly hold the game in disdain – should he also be forced to drive something that he clearly thinks is a joke?

  12. Max is right. F1 2019 is a joke of a game, and is a waste of the F1 license. Someone needs to make a sim out of the license, and not the bug ridden arcade mess that is the F1 201x series.

    1. F1 2019 is a joke of a game, and is a waste of the F1 license.

      Don’t forget that it’s just that; a game. moogleslam
      It was never meant to be a fill-in for missed real-life races.
      As a monetiser in general it probably served its purpose well.

      1. Covered some of this in my reply to xcm below too, but I’ll touch on it again here.

        Yes, it’s just a game, but it didn’t need to be; it could have been a sim. That’s the issue so many have with it. And a sim would have been a lot closer to a fill in for missed races! That’s why Max won’t race in it. The game is a joke to him, and so, you’ll find him in iRacing on a regular basis.

        F1 201x has been a commercial success, but it could have been a finished product too. Something that catered to all audiences, and that didn’t have all the bugs we’ve endured with it over the years.

    2. F1 2019 is literally a video game. A VIDYA!

      Its not codemasters fault corona hit. They didnt know they were supposed to host melbourne 2020.

      You people sound like children, over vidya. No wonder people like verstappen and hamilton want nothing to do with you.

      1. Verstappen actually likes racing against people like me! :) It’s F1 2019 he wants nothing to do with because it’s trash. He wants nothing to do with it, because he races in iRacing, and he knows what a sim should be like. F1 2019 is definitely a commercial success, but it’s a joke of a game, and a waste of the F1 license. Yes, it’s a video game, but it doesn’t need to be. It could be a sim. Or it could be both. Lots of sports allow more than one developer to create software for their sport, NBA for instance with NBA 2K & NBA Live. F1 need to allow the likes of iRacing, ISI, Kunos, or Sector3 develop an F1 sim.

        This has nothing to do with Codemasters being unprepared for hosting virtual races either. There’s nothing they could actually have done to prepare because the netcode is just broken. Indycar is hosting virtual races in iRacing with zero issues.

        For the record, it’s not like I don’t know the F1 games. I owned a sim racing website for many years, and we hosted leagues for 9 of these games, have had dozens of championships, and hundreds of drivers. I’m well aware of all the issues, and there’s a LOT.

  13. F1 cannot afford to lose any teams. We need more competitors, not fewer. The rumours of existing teams leaving are bad enough. It could very well be that there is no racing this year, or at most a handful of meetings. That will leave some teams on life support. Even Liberty must be hurting – have you seen their share price? If F1 dies, some shareholders will be very upset…

    Some serious reform of F1 is required beyond the cost cap. All stakeholders need to recognize that without some pretty fundamental change F1 has a very uncertain future. The new reduced cost cap is welcome, but must go further. There must also be an emphasis on getting more eyeballs back on F1, and that means free-to-air TV. It can’t be beyond the wit of Liberty execs to find a way to keep a portion of TV advertising, or to license FTA broadcasters. They may not make as much as they used to, but if the alternative is making nothing at all…

    It also means, paradoxically, fewer races. Liberty might like a race every weekend, but ask a psychologist and she’ll tell you that there is a maximum for this kind of thing, and going beyond it turns people off. We’re already well past the optimum number of races. They cease to be special when they’re too frequent.

    1. @rsp123 to some extent, the comment that Horner has made – even though he has his own agenda behind it – does have a certain point: what benefit does lowering the cost cap make right now?

      Right now, I would argue that the bigger problem for the midfield teams is going to be cash flow – income is likely to be fairly significantly reduced, but their expenditure, although that is also likely to be reduced, will still be reasonably high.

      A budget cap doesn’t really do anything about potential short to medium term cash flow issues – it sounds more like trying to apply a measure that has already been agreed to the current situation because people have agreed to it, not because it’s the right tool to deal with the current situation.

      You could draw a comparison with MotoGP and the approach that Dorna is taking – right now, their focus has been on making sure that teams have an income to deal with the current situation by making monthly payments to the privateer teams, which is being treated as an advance on their end of season payments.

      In the short to medium term, you could argue that what you really need is something more akin to that – Brown’s talk about a budget cap for 2021 is all well and good, but is going to be useless if a team has already gone bankrupt this year because their cash flow ground to a halt.

  14. Ok. Brainfart here. Max doen’t want to participate in the Codemasters demolition derby… Fair enough. He plays iRacing, right? Indycar has their virtual race in iRacing, right? They have guest racers on Indy. Surely someone at Indy is trying like crazy to get Max on a virtual Indycar race, right? Right?? Riiiigght????

    I’d watch it too

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      6th April 2020, 22:52

      Norris too. Wouldn’t even have to change t shirts

  15. But he will be great there. Damage is turned off.

  16. Probably doesn’t want to get “karma for Austria”.

  17. Cause he’s scared to compete in equal machinery and not have an advantage over his competition

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