While on the surface the commentators made it seem that all was well during the opening three nights of the 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series on Wednesday and Friday night.
Raced on the official F1 2020 game by Codemasters platform, drivers were competing from home and/or office, connected remotely which appears to be the source of the problem during the three races held on the two opening nights.
Ferrari Esports driver David Tonizza won the virtual Vietnam Grand Prix on Wednesday but technical issues rendered him and his teammate Enzo Bonito P19 and P20 in Thursday’s virtual Chinese Grand Prix.
This did not go down well at Maranello as David himself went on the record with the following stern worded Tweet:
“My thoughts about yesterday:
“It’s a shame that we had issues twice during this event, but every single team and the whole organization knew that the sim wasn’t ready for this. We can completely forget a race once like Bahrain, and then smash the field the race later; but we cannot afford two DNFs for issues caused by hardware and software (which weren’t even tested correctly).
“We can understand if we were the only team having problems, but here we are talking about game issues experienced also by other teams. With just one race done, we managed to close the event in P4, with 2 points off from third place; this bears up me, Enzo, Filip, Amos, Alessio, and Stefano to work really hard for the next event, which HAS TO BE a flawless one, otherwise, it’s just useless to believe in it. I also really want to thank every single fan who cheered for us, the support was insane, and that’s really important for us.
“See you in November, stay safe and Forza Ferrari!” added the reigning F1 Esports World Champion, in a statement that would have been okayed before release by Ferrari at the highest level.
Shots fired in other words.
Their media office reported: “It couldn’t have gone worse, as the third F1 Esports Series 2020 race ended before it started for the FDA Hublot Esports Team. The two sim drivers started from the front half of the grid, but were let down by a problem with the platform which meant they could not show what they could do.
“Qualifying. In the battle for pole, David Tonizza had to settle for fourth, just 74 thousandths off Dani Bereznay (Alfa Romeo). Enzo Bonito was just a tenth slower to claim seventh place.
“Start, then problems. Both FDA Hublot Esports Team drivers got away really well: David got the jump on Jarno Opmeer in the Alfa Romeo to go third, while Enzo moved up to sixth, passing Joni Tormala in the AlphaTauri. However, on the second lap a problem linked to the game’s platform meant that it was all over there and then.
“It was not the first time they or indeed other teams had faced similar problems,” concluded the report.
Previously the F1 Esports Pro finals were held in purpose-built arenas, however, in COVID-19 times the decision was to run the event remotely through the F1 2020 multiplayer interface.
This has obviously backfired mightily and could well mean they need to rethink the way the competition is run with immediate effect; with the logic being that they do run at an appropriate venue if need be, with safety bubbles for the drivers as is done in real F1.
Furthermore, the idea of drivers racing from home for such high profile events should be outlawed in the wake of the Daniel Abt cheating scandal. And for the sake of integrity and credibility, the event needs the drivers to compete in a controlled and fair scenario – all under the same roof – which only a central venue will guarantee.
Racing in this manner, with concerns aired in this manner by the best sim racers in the world, only triggers questions and conspiracies which sim racing can ill afford right now.