Game on for Formula One teams in virtual future


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Grand Prix teams could be racing each other in the virtual world as well as the real one next season, and fighting to sign up the hottest gamer talent, as Formula One wakes to the power of eSports.Darren Cox, the man behind McLaren’s “World’s Fastest Gamer” competition who also saw one of his drivers win Formula One’s first eSports series in Abu Dhabi last month, feels a tipping point has been reached this year.The former Nissan motorsport boss, who runs the eSPORTS+CARS virtual team, can also see the day dawning — in maybe three to five years’ time — when top gamers are earning more than the lowest paid drivers on the real F1 starting grid.In a wide-ranging interview at a simulator centre where his drivers train near London’s Gatwick airport, Cox told Reuters that he expected Formula One teams to become involved in next year’s eSports series.“If you look at what the NBA (basketball) has done…they engaged the teams right at the beginning. So 17 of the NBA teams have got franchises for the virtual side of the sport and there’s a draft like in the real world.“So expect something like that to come out of (Formula One owners) Liberty,” added Cox. “It’s happening now. Those conversations are being had.“This absolutely will be a big priority for them (Liberty) and I believe they have made it clear to the teams that they will be involved, in some way.“And then I guess it’s down to the teams about how involved they want to be.”