Formula 1 has never had a driver involved in esports – until now. Fernando Alonso has partnered with G2 Esports to announce a team, just days before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix kicks off on Sunday.
Alonso, one of the biggest names in professional racing and a two-time world champion, enters esports with one of the largest European organisations on the scene, after G2 announced a global partnership with Logitech G earlier this month. Logitech G is the gaming brand of the tech giants, who also sponsor McLaren, the team that Alonso competes with.
The new team, handed the hefty moniker FA Racing G2 Logitech G, will compete in a number of professional racing championships, such as F1 and rFactor.
When Alonso was approached by G2 and Logitech a few months ago, he was impressed by the promise in the idea. “It is very exciting, and it is a completely new thing to discover,” he said. “I think esports in other formats has been very successful but in racing, it is at the very beginning, and huge potential will come.
“I am happy to be one of the first investing in this direction and I think good and fun times are coming – not only for us, but for gamers at home and for fans.”
Alonso also spoke of his plans to race with fans – although he admitted that he had not signed himself to his own team thus far. “Not yet,” he said. “But we have some ideas for our fans to have online competitions, monthly, that they can not only participate with our pro drivers but also with myself.
“I will definitely be slower – more the amateur level. We will have fun, that is the first thing, and we will develop a platform that is available for everyone in the world.”
Fernando’s involvement with esports could certainly attract the attention of a younger demographic which has previously shied away from racing. At least, that’s the hope of Sean Bratches, the F1 commercial chief, who talked up the impact a high calibre racer could have when branching into other fields:
“Fernando’s brand has been a pillar of the success of F1 in the linear world, and just like other brands going into other areas, he gives a credibility,” he said. “A lot of drivers and athletes, in their second career, go into business and I think while this is a fun participatory game, it is competition.
“It is a big business and it is just getting bigger.”
Esports Insider says: Another exciting name to welcome to the industry! Excellent work by G2 to enter a partnership that is sure to turn plenty of heads. Will this be the start of a greater involvement between Formula 1 drivers and esports?