An image of a Haas F1 car alongside an image of Alfie Butcher,

Alfie Butcher: “Never Had Big Expectations”

F1 23

With the new season of F1 Esports on the horizon, we got to talk to PC Challengers champion Alfie Butcher who will surely be racing in the Pro Championship this year.

Before F1 23 released, all hopeful F1 Esports Pro Championship drivers lined up in the feeder series, F1 Esports Challengers. Xbox, PlayStation and PC players raced to qualify for the Pro Exhibition.

Typically, the drivers who race on PC are more likely to get picked. Therefore it’s always the most competitive field, with drivers involved this year like Ulaş Özyıldırım, Ismael Fahssi, István Puki and overwhelming title favourite Rubén Pedreño.

But one very unassuming driver outclassed them all.

Introducing: Alfie Butcher

Alfie Butcher is part of Romain Grosjean’s R8G Esports, he turned 16 during the Challengers season that he completely dominated. Out of six rounds, Butcher took three poles and five podiums, with only one of them not being a win. He ended up 37 points ahead of runner-up Özyıldırım by season’s end.

Following in the footsteps of previous PC Challengers champions Alessio di Capua and Tomasz Poradzisz, Butcher is expected to be selected to race in the Pro Championship. R8G Esports has been operating Haas since 2021, and this year they’re also running Alfa Romeo. With the latter acquiring the services of Thomas Ronhaar and Brendon Leigh, that may free up Haas for Butcher to jump in.

With all that in mind, we had the fortune of talking with Alfie shortly after the Challengers season ended.

OverTake: What was your background in racing both as a fan and a competitor?

Alfie Butcher:

I started quite recently, only a couple of years ago. It was a mate at school who got me into it, I was rather late getting into racing compared to a lot of people I race against. I did like it as a child, but I wasn’t that hugely into it. Only when I got older did it appeal to me.

OverTake: Aside from winning the PC Challengers title, what do you count as your biggest highlight in your time racing?

Alfie Butcher:

Probably PSGL PC Tier 2, that was a very hardly fought season. Despite missing a couple of races, still managed to wrap up the championship after a battle with Joost Noordijk and Rubén Pedreño throughout. It had me on edge throughout.

OverTake: PC Challengers often has the highest quality set of F1 Esports hopefuls. Do you believe winning the PC Challengers title is the best thing any hopeful F1 Esports driver can do?

Alfie Butcher:

Yeah definitely, I think PC Challengers for everyone – outside of the Pro Championship – is the main goal. Even for the drivers who won either Xbox or PlayStation Challengers the year before.

It’s certainly the most appealing to the F1 teams, to show you’re capable of doing it under pressure among such a competitive set of drivers. It’s probably a big pull factor.

OverTake: When we interviewed your R8G teammate Ulaş Özyıldırım, he never mentioned you when we asked him who his strongest rivals were. Did you believe you’d be a title contender?

Alfie Butcher:

So I had exams coming up, therefore the goal was just to be in the top six so I could qualify for the Pro Exhibition. When the first race happened, my nerves settled and therefore I just grew into the championship. Became more confident.

I had taken a bit of break from F1 22 before the season, and just gradually built up pace. Somehow managed to bring it home, I just never had big expectations for myself.

OverTake: If you do indeed get into the Pro Championship, what do you believe you can achieve?

Alfie Butcher:

It will be a difficult season, being a first year driver. But drivers have shown they can be on the pace in their first season, like Thomas Ronhaar for example. But realistically, my aim would be to just get a few points on the board honestly.

If I score a few points, I’ll be very happy with myself. Of course, things can change on F1 23, the running order can always be shaken up with the release of the new game.

To whet your appetite for F1 Esports, both Premier Sim Gaming Leagues and World Online Racing are getting their top PC tier championships underway. Butcher is competing in both, as are many other Pro Championship drivers.

PSGL began on 21 June and will race Wednesday evenings, whereas WOR begins 25 June and will race Sunday evenings.

What do you think Butcher can achieve if he makes it into F1 Esports? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

Biggest esports racing fan in the world.