Category Archives: ESports

F1 2021 Virtual Sao Paulo GP: Russell shows supernatural speed to take 6th VGP win running

The Virtual F1 caravan set their IP addresses for Interlagos this week as the charity F1 series completed its third and final round.

Sprint Race

The Sprint race was a more muted affair than last week at Silverstone, as Longuet led from start to finish while holding off a spirited challenge from Brendon Leigh on lap 3 and 4. The French-Italian held strong however against the pressure to take the win.

Feature Race Report

If the Sprint Race was a lights to flag win for Longuet, the feature race was anything but as first lap spins for Arthur Leclerc and Nicolas Hamilton compressed the field and allowed Beganovic, Tsamere and from P14 on the grid, George Russell to take the top three.

It was easy pickings for Russell on Tsamere on lap 2, then setting off after Beganovic. Enzo Fittipaldi then cleared the comedian and tailed Russell up to the leader. Beganovic fell to the Brit a lap later into Turn 1, releasing undeniable pace as Russell extended this gap to 6.5 seconds on Enzo behind over the next 18 laps.

Alex Albon and Jake Dixon were locked together for some laps before the Thai driver made his way past, then taking 4th place from Tsamere before the Frenchman lost out on 5th to Dixon. Beganovic dropped back further to P3, losing the position to Enzo in the Haas. Hamilton the younger had recovered to 11th by lap 6 as Fittipaldi the older overtook the controller-equipped Pieface for into T1.

Tsamere seemed under intense pressure as Arthur Leclerc and Pietro Fittipaldi closed up behind, before quickly dispatching the Alpine driver in the same lap. Shed racer Jimmy Broadbent seemed to be sizing up Pieface before incurring a penalty for corner cutting, hopefully getting it out of his system before his upcoming Britcar campaign.

E. Fittipaldi, Beganovic and Albon were right together before Albon made his move on Beganovic over the next three laps, Déjà vu set in as the same defence was mounted from Junção through to Turn 4, wheels being banged all the down the intervening straights. Albon held 3rd place after the Senna S on lap 17, the squabbling allowing Enzo to take a 3 second gap in 2nd, as Beganovic fell further backwards.

The Senna S was a popular overtaking opportunity, as multiple drivers made their overtakes into the sweeping chicane. Leclerc snuck through on lap 12 to overtake Pietro Fittipaldi. The Brazilian tried to come back into T4 before losing the Haas and running wide. The McLarens pitted on lap 14 one after the other as discussed over their team radio channel, setting off a flurry of pitstops in the middle stage of the race.

After his tenure on softs out front came to a close, the unparalleled Russell pitted on lap 18 with a 6.5 second lead over Enzo behind. Crucially, Russell re-joined ahead of Leclerc and could set off with clear air to maintain his gap on the medium tyres. Enzo pitted as Albon romped away from Beganovic, before pitting himself a lap later to set up the final stage of the race. Russell cleared Dixon to retake the lead and add whatever he could to the time gap while his rivals were still making their way through the long runners.

Russell quickly extended his lead to 7.5 seconds over the soft clad Enzo, with Albon a further 3.7 seconds back completing the top 3. Leclerc and Dixon battled, as did Hountondji and Dennis, before the latter went through on the inside for P15 at turn 4. DIxon and Leclerc also traded moves, rubbing wheels over multiple laps, Dixon seemingly desperate to pass the Monegasque despite the penalty awaiting the Ferrari driver. The two battled for another few laps until Lap 33 before Dixon lost the Mercedes through the infield, losing any chance of taking P6.

Salvadori and Pieface battled similarly for 4 laps before the Fifa streamer lost control out of turn 3 to forfeit P10. Jimmy Broadbent overtook Tsamere on the road for 8th place, but with 3 extra seconds of penalties it would be no mean feat to take the position fully. Out front Enzo had brought down Russell’s lead to 5.9 seconds but with the edge of his tyre performance gone, the King’s Lynne native re-extended his lead out to 6 seconds on the final lap to take the win with a new record.

While they’d not reached the heights of week one’s race in Austria, the Fittipaldis did manage to take the top spot of the championship for Haas, securing $20,000 for the Grand Prix Trust.

Final Classification

PositionDriverTeamPoints
1George RussellWilliams26
2Enzo FittpaldiHaas18
3Alex AlbonRed Bull15
4Dino BeganovicFerrari12
5Pietro FittipaldiHaas10
6Arthur LeclercFerrari8
7Jake DixonMercedes6
8Arnaud TsamereAlpine4
9Jimmy BroadbentMcLaren2
10Luca SalvadoriAlpha Tauri1
11Jack McDermottAlfa Romeo0
12Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo0
13Nicolas HamiltonMcLaren0
14Alejandro LopezWilliams0
15Rohan DaviesMercedes0
16Johannes HountondjiRed Bull0
17Tonio LiuzziAlpha Tauri0
DSQNico ProstAlpine0

This left the standing for the 2021 Virtual GP championship as follows:

Standings

PositionDriverTeamPoints
1Enzo FittipaldiHaas53
2George RussellWilliams51
3Alex AlbonRed Bull46
4Pietro FittipaldiHaas32
5Arthur LeclercFerrari23
6Stoffel VandoorneMercedes18
7Callum IlottFerrari15
8Dino BeganovicFerrari12
9Marcus ArmstrongFerrari8
10Robert ShwartzmanFerrari8

The constructors championship also wrapped up with the end of the Grand Prix with the positions as follows:

Constructors Standings

PositionTeamPoints
1Haas85
2Ferrari62
3Williams57
4Red Bull54
5Mercedes28
6Alpine10
7AlphaTauri4
8McLaren4
9Alfa Romeo2

F1 2021 Virtual British GP: Russell keeps nose clean to hold off Albon and Ilott

One week after a frenetic start to F1’s Virtual GP Series in a polygonal Austria came a race certainly closer to the definition of ‘within the rules’ but lacking none of the action as a result.

Sprint Race

The qualifying sprint race was a 5-lap pressure cooker for Kiefer and Leigh at the front, the latter upping the ante on the Red Bull driver before a daring move for the lead from through Brooklands that eventually sealed pole for Callum Ilott.

Kiefer held onto the second place that would give Albon a fair chance at victory should the feature race go his way.

Feature Race Report

It was all action at the start as Ilott took off to build an early lead while Alex Albon and Thibaut Courtois battled for second behind. The goalkeeper clearly didn’t want to just keep his goal, he had a new one of Albon’s second place, putting a daring move on the Thai driver outside Maggotts. The Red Bull had the right track position however, and the Alfa had to slot back in behind.

Courtois seemed unwilling to settle for 3rd, putting another move on into Village, slipping past Albon and into 2nd. Out of position and with less momentum than his fellow streamer, Albon opened himself up to a pass through Aintree by Russell as Ilott used the squabbling to build an early lead of 2.5s. The King’s Lynne prodigy would lead the Thai past Courtois a lap later and after the flying Ferrari.

Ben Daly (Tiametmarduk) started in the middle of the pack in 8th before going sideways at Abbey, a slide which would forebode the rest of his race. He made a recovery up to P7, then P6 as a Courtois caught outfield seemed to be tracking back finishing lap 6 down in P9.

Contact seemed to find its way to Daly, as the Youtuber was bumped and bashed around, first by Shwartzman at Luffield, then Lawson through Village, though his fete seemed to be back behind, as only a spin for Tiametmarduk a tour or two later took him out of the points.

As trouble kicked off behind, Ilott’s softs had had enough, as he came into the pits for the mediums. Albon claimed the lead behind as a result, dispatching Russell at Stowe with some tactical ERS use. It held steady at the front for at least two laps, before the Red Bull had its wings clipped by a track limits abuse and an immediate pit for softs.

Advantage Russell, with a clean record he covered the undercut a lap later. Ilott had reclaimed the lead thanks to some small undercut effect, but was clearly under pressure as the soft-clad runners were a cut above even his skills.

Jimmy Broadbent meanwhile was having a race typical of his iRacing career, running in P14 from a promising start, unable to make places. Also unable to make places was the first woman to race in a Virtual GP feature race, Thea Musante. It seemed to be trial by fire in her first race at this level, ending the race in an unfortunate 15th a lap down. Hopefully next time out, her skills will be honed at Interlagos.

Medium tyres fitted, Ilott was unable to build a similar gap to before the pit rotation, as Albon moved within 0.2 seconds with 10 laps to go, set the fastest lap, then cruised round the outside at village 2 laps later. Ilott out of the way unleashed Albon, desperate to build a gap before the inevitable Russell had no cars between them. Russell looked likely to do this not half a lap later, practically being inside his compatriot’s gearbox through the Copse-Maggotts-Becketts complex before completing a pass on the Wellington straight.

New entry Pieface23 held up surprisingly well against those around him with fancier sim rigs, holding them off with some extreme dexterity on a standard controller. Courtois eventually dispatched him like a hard to find console and he pitted for sone new boots to claim fastest lap. Squeezie and Daly were concurrently sizing up Liuzzi and Latifi respectively, though no position changes came of the pressure.

One place this wasn’t true was out front, as a racy Russell forced Albon to move around on the straights in an attempt to break the tow with 5 laps to go. Ilott then became one of many to pick up a penalty as almost all those behind had, ending his chances of picking up a win from the two in front.

A Russell potentially running on fumes then passed Albon down the hangar straight. Albon then produced a late charge to take fastest lap, then a last lap on-track overtake for the win on the road. He would immediately come to rue his liberties with the white lines, the clock telling the real story as the checkered flag fell. Russell took the win, followed by Albon with Ilott on the bottom step in third.

Final Classification

PositionDriverTeamPoints
1George RussellWilliams25
2Alex AlbonRed Bull19
3Callum IlottFerrari15
4Pietro FittipaldiHaas12
5Enzo FittipaldiHaas10
6Liam LawsonRed Bull8
7Nicholas LatifiWilliams6
8Robert ShwartzmanFerrari4
9Ben ‘Tiametmarduk’ DalyMcLaren2
10Luca SalvadoriAlpha Tauri1
11Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo0
12Jimmy BroadbentMcLaren0
13Vitantonio LiuzziAlpha Tauri0
14Jack ‘Pie Face’ McDermottAlfa Romeo0
15TheamusanteAlpine0
16‘Squeezie’Alpine0

F1 2021 Virtual Austrian GP: Enzo Fittipaldi takes narrow victory over Vandoorne

This year’s format for the Virtual Grands Prix introduces an unusual form of qualifying. In a quasi tag-team format, the professional’s took to the track in a 5 lap sprint race to set the order for the main event race of F1 drivers and assorted guests. David Tonizza claimed the top step, putting Marcus Armstrong on pole flanked by Anthony Davidson.

Feature Race Report

Carnage unfolded immediately, as Davidson decided to lick the stamp and send it on Armstrong. While the move was impressive, it seemed as though it was more return to sender as the former Super Aguri driver dropped down the order, adding insult to injury with an Albon-esque spin.

Shed sim racer Jimmy Broadbent profited off the chaos to take P3 before the Fittipaldis lined him up one after the other, setting themselves up for their charge into the podium places.

Leclerc and Armstrong were formation flying out front for the first half of the race before the pitstop rotation. Armstrong looked in position to claim the lead through the pits before overly attacking the pit limiter line causing a penalty. He wasn’t alone, as everyone bar Oscar Piastri were awarded penalties, mostly for track limits infractions. Tonio Liuzzi fell particularly foul of this, being disqualified on Lap 16.

Vandoorne started on the mediums and used his tyre life advantage to stay out and lead before dropping to 5th through the pitstops. A late charge steering slightly clearer of the white lines allowed him to take 2nd when all was said and done.

The Haas drivers of Enzo and Pietro Fittipaldi took advantage of the chaos in the early laps to make their way to 3rd and 4th position, before being pinged for the same infractions at the pit lane entry line as Armstrong. Enzo appeared to be more comfortable on the fresh set of boots, clearing the first Ferrari and setting after Leclerc.

Leclerc the younger held strong under pressure until 8 laps to go, when an ambitious move from Fittipaldi put him in P1. The Monegasque returned the favour with 5 laps remaining, before being re-passed for what would be the last lead change. One last do or die move caused another track limits penalty for Leclerc, ceding P2 to Vandoorne.

Enzo Fittipaldi edged Stoffel Vandoorne and Arthur Leclerc to take the full 25 points in the first round of the Virtual Austrian Grand Prix.

Final Classification

PositionDriverTeamPoints
1Enzo FittipaldiHaas25
2Stoffel VandoorneMercedes18
3Arthur LeclercFerrari15
4Alex AlbonRed Bull12
5Pietro FittipaldiHaas10
6Marcus ArmstrongFerrari8
7Oscar PiastriAlpine6
8Anthony DavidsonMercedes4
9Luca SalvadoriAlpha Tauri2
10Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo2
11Jimmy BroadbentMcLaren0
12Christian LundgaardAlpine0
13Nicholas LatifiWilliams0
14Jack McDermottAlfa Romeo0
15Jeffrey HerlingsRed Bull0
16Ben DalyMcLaren0
17Alejandro LopezWilliams0
DSQTonio LiuzziAlpha Tauri0

F1 2020 Game: A Radical Solution that could make for a Great Game Mode

If there is one topic in Formula 1 that is guaranteed to spark debate and it is how best to improve the show.

Everyone has a different answer, from the sensible – less tyre management, simpler engines – to the more radical – binning blue flags entirely.

In a Motorsport Magazine article last year, Tony Dodgins put forward one such radical solution: a proper drivers’ championship where drivers are rotated between teams during the season, rather than driving for a single outfit.

While perhaps too radical for real-life F1, it would certainly make for an interesting new mode alongside Codemasters’ usual fare.

A True Drivers’ Championship

A season where every driver gets the opportunity to get behind the wheel of each car at least twice could provide a truly dynamic championship battle. The ebb and flow of results provided by drivers swapping machinery each weekend would throw major swings into the championship table.

Drivers would pick in last year’s championship order, with the World Champion picking 1st for every round. 2nd place would then pick their team, followed by 3rd and so on. For the final three races, drivers could pick again in either the same order or current championship order, with the championship leader picking first.

READ MORE: THE PROBLEM WITH WRC COVERAGE

This reimagining of what a Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship could be could force the player to make some interesting and difficult decisions when it comes to selecting which car to take in each round.

Tough Decisions

Where and when do you play the Ferrari?

If you’re playing as Hamilton, which races do you decide to take in the Williams? And which do you decide to take in the Mercedes? These are all questions that players will have to decide for themselves to ensure they achieve the greatest possible haul of points.

A weekend in the Mercedes is an opportunity to take maximum points. An outing in a slower car, such as the Williams or HAAS, is all about damage limitation, where a single point is a victory unto itself.

READ MORE: 2021 LE MANS HYPERCAR REGULATIONS EXPLAINED

For Monaco, do you go with the Red Bull and try to make up the difference to the faster Mercedes with skill alone? Or do you try to pull a slower car into the points at a track where the driver can make the difference?

The likelihood of you actually making it through Turn 1 in each car at each track would also be an important element to consider. Something else to take on board are your chances of actually finishing that race in that car. A retirement in a Mercedes would be incredibly more costly than parking an Alfa Romeo.

READ MORE: THE DEVIL’S IN THE DATA: WHAT PEREZ COULD BRING TO RED BULL

Add to this the likelihood of the Safety Car making an appearance, or it raining during qualifying or the race, along with the component management system that exists in the main career mode, and there is potentially a lot of strategic depth there.

How would you play your hand? How would the car you’re in change how you approach certain races?

Something On The Side

Given that Codemasters has already introduced driver transfers, I imagine a mode like this shouldn’t prove too difficult to implement.

The Riskiest Sundays: a weekend in a Mercedes could end in glory… or tears.

There are certainly some things that would need to be fully thought through, such as how many races ahead drivers can pick their cars for and whether they can change their selection once it’s locked in, amongst other things.

It would certainly provide a new way to play a season, managing risk and reward as you hop in and out of different seats, scraping together the maximum points your car will allow at each venue.

READ MORE: WHY FORMULA 1 NEEDS TO BE FREE TO AIR

And what better time to introduce it than after a year where we’ve seen numerous drivers, including George Russell and Nico Hulkenberg, called up at last minute to perform in machinery they’re in no way familiar with.

For the die-hard purists, it’s a nonsense, a waste of time and resources that could be better spent on improving the already stellar first-in-class career mode. But if it could be done on the side, with little time or effort required to get it out the door, it could be just the thing to jump into once you’ve burned through the more serious stuff the game has to offer.

F1 2020 Game: Why we need better pit stop information in 2021

Since Codemasters’ first Formula 1 game effort back in 2009, the series has gone from strength to strength. This is due to their commitment to build on each yearly release rather than splash a new coat of paint on the previous outing with only minor tweaks.

When it comes to new features, every fan has a different wish list. Some would like to see the inclusion of pre-season testing; others would quite like a more substantial livery editor or improvements to the ‘My Team’ mode.

Since it’s nearly Christmas, here is the start of my wishlist: the things I’d love to see included in a future F1 title!

Better Pitstop Information

This isn’t so much a feature, but a fix to a minor problem that’s bugged me. It wouldn’t be the most exciting addition to the game, but I think it could really improve the overall race experience.

Currently, the MFD Pitstop Page provides the player with two pieces of information: the pitstop window for the set of tyres you are on, and the race position you would come out in if you stopped now.

The first part is useful: you need to know around about what lap you need to come in to make the strategy work. The race position you will re-emerge in, though, is next to useless if you don’t know what exactly you are being dropped back into.

Say, for example, that the MFD tells you that you’ll be coming out in 12th position. That could mean a number of different things.

READ MORE: IN THE PIT LANE – F1 SEEING DOLLAR SIGNS

You could come out directly behind a driver on hard tyres who won’t be pitting for some time. At a circuit where track position is key, such as Monaco or Catalunya, that could prove incredibly costly. Or you could be parachuted into traffic and have to pick through backmarkers – again, costing you vital time.

The game doesn’t tell you how far ahead or behind another car you’ll be at pit exit, or what tyres they’re on – both crucial pieces of information when you’re adjusting strategy on the fly.

Why this would make a difference

If you had access to better timing information, perhaps through some form of on-screen graphic, you might decide to extend your stint to clear a certain driver or group of drivers before pitting.

Admittedly, overtaking is far easier in the game than in real life. Even at a track where it is notoriously difficult to pass like Zandvoort, you can overtake. Getting stuck behind another driver could still hurt your race, though. And it should, if realism is the aim.

READ MORE: IN THE PIT LANE – FORMULA 1’S CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

As features go, I don’t think it would be that hard to implement as everything needed is already there in the game. Admittingly, I know nothing about game development, but I did come up with an analogue solution a few years ago to satisfy my curiosity.

How it could be implemented

I’d start by working out how long a pitstop is at a particular track. Then I’d drive a lap at race speed and watch the video back. Stopwatch in hand, I’d work out where I’d be 20-23 seconds down the road after passing a distinct feature on the full track map, such as the start/finish line.

If we used Spa as an example, I’d start the stopwatch at La Source and see the amount of time it takes to complete a pitstop. If I found myself on a stretch of track where I had enough time to glance at the track map, I’d pick out an on-track marker and jump into the race.

By using the track map like this, I was able to see exactly what I’d be dropped back into if I came into the pits.

READ MORE: IN THE PIT LANE – SAFETY DOESN’T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT

It worked better at some tracks than it did at others, but it was a simple way of seeing where I was in relation to the other cars a pitstop behind me. Undercuts and Overcuts weren’t just blind luck anymore, but things I could monitor by consulting the track map.

A more refined pitstop display that clearly communicates the race landscape you’ll re-emerge into after a pitstop could really improve the overall race experience for players. It’s not the sort of shiny, new feature that’s going to move units the same way the addition of Formula 3 might, but it’s a quality of life improvement that could really add to what’s already there.

Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance 2020

With the Remembrance weekend less than a month away, Mission Motorsport should be gearing up for their annual endurance race to descend onto the Anglesey Circuit.

Unfortunately, as with many other events this year, that’s not possible. This lead to the difficult decision to cancel the race.

This wasn’t going to stop these incredible people coming up with an alternative strategy. But first, a little backstory:

Who are Mission Motorsport?

Founded in 2012, Mission Motorsport is a charity dedicated to providing continued support to those impacted by military operations and engagements, through motorsport, as well as the wider automotive industry itself.

A key reason for choosing motorsport as the charity’s outlet is that, unlike most other sports, it allows both disabled and able bodied participants to compete on a level playing field.

Vehicles can be adapted, rather than adjusting the sport itself. Since its creation, this charity has been able to secure thousands of jobs for veterans, as well as providing vital rehabilitation for countless more.

As stated previously, a large portion of events are motorsport based, with the premier event being the Race of Remembrance. This event sees 50 teams come together to take part in a 12 hour endurance race around the Anglesey Circuit over the course of the Remembrance Weekend.

This includes the race being paused on Sunday morning, allowing the competitors to come together to remember the fallen.

#YourRoR

As we know, the pandemic has made it impossible to hold events on the scale of the Race of Remembrance (RoR) safely. However, that hasn’t stopped both contributors and beneficiaries finding their own ways to rekindle the spirit of the event, which has led to the launch of the #YourRoR campaign.

This has seen a whole host of events be devised by supporters to both commemorate the weekend, and raise some much needed funds.

One such event takes to sim racing, hosting an online race to honour RoR 2020. This will see 16 drivers take to Project Cars 2, to compete in a 6 hour endurance race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in GTE cars.

As per tradition, the racers will come together in the pitlane at half distance to mark the occasion with Mission Motorsports’ livestreamed Remembrance ceremony and a minutes silence, after which, the race will resume to its conclusion.

If you are able to donate, you can do so by visiting this website.

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