Well, it is about time! We have gotten used to having soccer, football and basketball superstars diving into the eSports arena and now Fernando Alonso is set to be the first Formula One (F1) racer with an eSports team. The team has been launched in partnership with Logitech and G2 eSports with the McLaren Honda driver serving as the team’s principal. To show eSports enthusiasts just how serious they are, the team has even already enlisted Cem Bolukbasi, an F1 eSports league finalist, who will participate in a number of games across different platforms. Furthermore, Alonso’s F1 outfit, McLaren, recently confirmed that they had signed Rudy van Buren the victor of the “world’s fastest gamer”, a competition McLaren themselves had created to find someone of such capacity. Rudy was nominated by Alonso himself to be the official simulator driver for the next season in 2018 – all thanks to his amazing simulation racing skills and engineering knowledge. McLaren also becomes the first and only eSports racing team with an eSports director. The eSports team, according to Alonso, is open to any gamer with the ‘talent to perform’.
Alonso had quite a lot to say about his new endeavor during the announcement of Yas Island’s Formula One (F1) circuit;
“I am really excited. A couple of months ago I had this proposal from one of our partners, and I thought it was a nice idea to create and link these two sports. The fans will no longer be spectators. The fans will no longer just be spectators. The fans will be a key role in my world and they will drive for my team maybe one day. I think we all have a gamer inside us, and competition is no different. I am extremely happy and there are unlimited possibilities in our team. An elite team, professional team, racing in the best races in the world – especially here in the F1 championship, but not only here – in Refactor, the world’s fastest gamer from McLaren, in the E-simulators, and that is something we will explore with time.”
The F1 superstar has never been one to shy away from his support of existing racing simulators citing them as a being an area worthy of exploration. Massive changes in technology have seen the racing simulators get better and better, which may in future even blur the line between real F1 races and simulations. Alonso adds that this is a logical extension as he considers each and every F1 driver to be a ‘gamer at heart.’ The virtual space opens new doors for younger racers who might not get the opportunity to race in the real world as well as the younger audiences. Virtual racing has often been played an important promotional tool for finding the next big thing in car racing – people have actually taken motorsports into career considerations after being motivated by eSports.