Outrage in F1 esports as player banned after caught cheating on stream

CodeMasters / PSGL

The F1 esports community is greatly concerned by the rampant cheating in the game after another player was caught red-handed in a competition.

Cheating is once again a hot topic among F1 players after a driver called Bugrahan Duman was found to be cheating in the 11th tier of PC racing in the Premier Sim Gaming League (PSGL).

Duman streamed the race and uploaded the footage to his YouTube channel. He made the video private as soon as the cheating accusations began flying, though a clip of it has since been posted to Twitter by PSGL director Louis ‘Criptoniite’.

Article continues after ad

In a statement to Dexerto, Connor McDonagh, PSGL’s owner and CEO, said that the league opened an investigation into the player after it became evident he had raced at a level far above what he had previously shown.

“Duman claimed pole by nearly one-second, while he won the race by 30 seconds,” McDonagh said. “In the previous races, he had struggled to finish inside the top five in our slowest tier. Instead, he suddenly was able to set a time that would be competitive in our very best tiers.

Article continues after ad

“Once video evidence of him driving was found, it was very clear that his driving was very unnatural and he had an excessive amount of grip simply not in the game.”

The incident has reignited the conversation about cheating in competitive F1 and the lack of measures put in place by Codemasters and EA, the game’s developer and publisher, to combat this issue. On January 22, F1 YouTuber Tiametmarduk said that “F1 needs an anti-cheat”.

Article continues after ad

In response to the latest cheating case, two-time F1 Esports world champion Jarno Opmeer wrote on Twitter that “league racing and esports are about to die if nothing happens”.

Why cheating is a rampant problem in F1 esports

Cheating in F1 is very sophisticated, and without an anti-cheat in place, it’s incredibly hard to detect foul play if a driver is not streaming his POV. To enter the PSGL, drivers must complete an evaluation race and a short qualifying event. The only exceptions are players who compete for official F1 Esports teams.

Article continues after ad

McDonagh said that PSGL was “fortunate” that Duman streamed the race as he made it easy to spot that he was cheating. “PSGL is convinced there are other drivers cheating in our league but it’s nearly impossible to detect them,” he added.

A team manager contacted by Dexerto, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the growing number of cheating cases has led to suspicion among drivers. Earlier this month, another F1 player, Jamie Mels, was disqualified by PSGL after a suspicious video of his driving was posted by Mercedes esports driver Dani Moreno on Twitter.

Article continues after ad

“At the moment, there are no counter-measures,” the manager told Dexerto. “The cheats can be easily downloaded and hidden. It’s left up to members of the F1 community to self-police.

“As the last two seasons of F1 Esports have been online, there really is no telling if there have been cheats used at any stage. I’d like to think that isn’t the case but the level of trust between the drivers in the series and the game developers is at an all-time low.”

Article continues after ad

On Instagram, Duman rejected the accusations.

“I find it sad that people forget that I have feelings, too,” he wrote. “Putting any person down and accusing me of cheating just because the race didn’t go as they hoped. It’s sad that there are still people like that. Shame on you.”