The F1 driver has great respect for esports racers. Why didn’t he challenge them in the Virtual GPs?
Photo credit: Koch Media / XaviYuahanda (CC BY-SA)
F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo explained to Autosport why he did not participate in esports racing during the COVID-19 break. In the statements published on July 8, the Australian tells he was afraid of becoming too competitive and thus spending too much time on the virtual asphalt.
Formula 1 had to take a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020. During that time, many drivers improved their home setup and took a serious shot at esports racing.
In F1’s Virtual GPs, many real-world drivers like Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell and Valterri Bottas competed against esports racers and influencers.
Youngsters Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen got even further involved into esports racing. They took part in other competitive events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in rFactor 2, the 2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup in iRacing and the IndyCar iRacing Challenge.
Where was Ricciardo?
But one fan darling has been missing on the virtual asphalt. Daniel Ricciardo told Autosport he was “not particularly” interested in getting into esports racing.
However, his disinterest did not result from a general aversion to esports racing. “I am very competitive in anything,” the Renault driver tells Autosport. Speaking about the thought of competing against esports racers he says: “To get on the level that these guys are doing is going to take hours and hours and hours.”
Ricciardo is known to commit fully to any challenge he tackles. Esports racing is no different. “I just chose not to go down that rabbit hole, because once I’m in, I think I’m all in.”
His Renault team-mate Esteban Ocon, who took part in the Virtual GPs, confirmed that “you have to do so much racing, so much commitment. I was doing six hours per day for eight days. It’s a lot of hours.”
Even though some of Ricciardos colleagues like George Russell were quickly able to find a good pace in simulations, the Australian was afraid he would lose too much time. “I would lose days and days and months, maybe years on it.“
To the question whether he aims to pick it up later, he replied: “I’ll leave it to the younger generations.”