The Rising Stars
Lucas Blakeley, a Scottish esports athlete, recently defeated Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel in a real car race. As the boundaries between the real and gaming worlds in Formula 1 blur, racing team bosses are recognizing the potential of esports in finding the stars of the future.
A Second Chance
Lucas, now part of McLaren’s esports team, started his racing journey in go-karting but faced financial constraints in pursuing a career in F1. The introduction of F1’s esports tournament in 2017 provided him and many others with an alternative path to competitive racing.
F1 esports competitions feature complex simulator rigs, replicating the controls and visuals of racing cars. With millions of fans tuning in to watch the races on platforms like Twitch, the pressure on esports athletes like Lucas is immense, as split-second decisions can make or break their performance.
F1 Teams Embrace Esports
Top F1 teams, including McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, are actively participating in esports, recognizing its potential for attracting new talent and expanding the sport’s appeal. Qualification rounds using the F1 game by Codemasters provide a platform for aspiring esports athletes to showcase their skills and catch the attention of team representatives.
Bridging the Gap
Esports is seen as a valuable training ground for future F1 stars, as the integration of virtual and physical elements offers a unique learning experience. The blurring of boundaries between the two realms excites industry professionals, who believe this will shape the next generation of talent entering the sport.
The Road Ahead
The F1 esports series for 2023 is currently underway, with the anticipation of crowning the next champion by the end of the year. The recent release of a new version of the F1 game further fuels the ambition of racing brands to attract aspiring esports champions, ensuring the continued growth and evolution of the virtual racing scene.