A Williams F1 car with the number 21 on the side.

Are F1 Esports Drivers Cheating?

F1 22

Many F1 game players were caught cheating in various leagues, but now there have been a lot of questions being asked about whether Pro Championship drivers are doing the same.

Image credit: Williams Esports

Cheating in any sort of competition is frowned upon, and the competitive online racing scene is no different. For many years, plenty of players have been suspected and even proven to be cheating.

It’s not a comfortable topic to delve into, and it’s easy to pick and choose who we believe to be cheating based on our own personal biases. But alas, the topic has come up again when an F1 Esports driver was seen to have access to software that could give them an advantage.

Alvaro Carreton's POV on a Twitch stream with the F1 game in the background and a folder popping up showing questionable files containing words like hack, cheat and mod.
Carretón may have been running mods in the background from his PSGL stream. Image credit: alvarocarreton on Twitch

Who Was it?

Williams driver Álvaro Carretón was streaming the PSGL round on the Paul Ricard circuit, when a folder intruded onto the screen. It seemed to show files with names like ‘grip hacks’, ‘modder bypass’ and ‘cheat engine’. Pretty self explanatory stuff, and when the image began circulating, he removed the playback of the stream.

Not long after, Carretón released a statement claiming that he has been helping out Codemasters, EA and Formula 1 by running these mods. This is in order to help them spot a difference between drivers who don’t run these mods and those who do, so they can take the appropriate action on those found to be competing with them.

A tweet by Alvaro Carreton claiming he has been helping the developers of the game with spotting driving to do with cheating.
Carretón denies using the mods to help him in races, and Jarno Opmeer expresses support for him. Image credit: @AlvaroCarreton on Twitter

A lot of the community are not buying this response, with some asking perhaps why Codemasters, EA and Formula 1 aren’t backing him up if this is true. Carretón has been a mainstay in the F1 Esports scene since the first full season in 2018, having driven for Williams that entire time. However, Jarno Opmeer did jump to his fellow esports driver’s defence.

Williams haven’t had the best start to 2023 when it comes to accusations of cheating. In the 24 hours of Daytona iRacing Special Event, they got plenty of heat when one of their drivers during qualifying ran on the apron. This resulted in a monumental lap time that put them in pole position, despite the rules dictating that they were to not run on the lower portion of the track.

Formula 1, EA and Codemasters are yet to comment on the matter at the time of publication.

What do you make of the cheating accusations? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

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