Charles Leclerc: F1 esports "tougher" than the real thing - Dexerto

Charles Leclerc reveals how F1 esports racing compares to the real thing

Published: 6/Apr/2020 6:56 Updated: 7/Apr/2020 11:22

by Isaac McIntyre


Two-time Formula 1 race winner Charles Leclerc may be one of the best racing drivers in the world, but the Monégasque may have found his match in esports, after he dubbed sim racing on F1 2019 “unbelievably hard.”

Last year, Leclerc well and truly announced himself in Formula 1. Ferrari may have struggled to match eventual champions Mercedes, but the 22-year-old rode out his first year in the seat of the Prancing Horse in style.


2019 saw him notch his first seven F1 pole positions. He also won twice. First, he opened his account in Spa, then he went back-to-back at Monza. Now, he’s facing a completely different kind of challenge in the world of esports.

With events canceled or delayed across the world, the racing scene has turned to sim racing and esports to fill the void. Guanyu Zhou won the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix. Now even more top-level drivers are joining the events.


One of these was Leclerc, who won his first virtual GP ahead of Renault’s F2 driver Christian Lundgaard. It wasn’t easy though, the Monégasque admitted. In fact, it may have been even harder than usual F1 racing.

Charles Leclerc made it one from one in his F1 Virtual Grand Prix debut.
Formula 1
Charles Leclerc made it one from one in his F1 Virtual Grand Prix debut.

When Leclerc crossed the finish line in Belgium to claim his first F1 victory, he dedicated it to late friend Anthoine Hubert. This time, as he notched his first virtual win, he could only laugh after the commentators said it was “easy.”

“Easy you said?” he replied, laughing at the suggestion. “No! That was unbelievably hard! So there is no g-force like we have in the real car, yeah, but it’s actually… I’m sweating like crazy. It was a great race, really fun.”


The 22-year-old explained his muscles didn’t hurt like in a real race, but the “concentration still had to be so high.” He’s no stranger to sweat ⁠either — F1 cars are heat boxes ⁠— but he was shocked the same happened after his virtual race too.

“I have been sweating quite a lot! [The victory] probably would have been harder if everyone didn’t fall off the track, but they shouldn’t have made the mistakes!” he added with a laugh. “It was so tough though, everyone was very quick.”

After his post-win interview with the Virtual GP organizers, Leclerc joined a Discord channel with drivers Lando Norris ⁠— who previously shattered F1 Twitch records ⁠— George Russell, Alex Albon, and 2020 debutant Nicholas Latifi.


Once there, the young Formula 1 drivers continued to discuss just how difficult the esports version of their sport really is. Leclerc admitted he didn’t see much of a difference in the “big mental battle” that comes on both sides.

“I even think maybe it’s tougher than real life?” he stated. After years with the ever-present “feelings of the car,” not having them was “ strange” and made it “very tricky,” he said. He added it was a “much more mental battle in esports.”


That doesn’t mean he isn’t enjoying himself immensely in the gaming world so far. The F1 superstar revealed he had downloaded Codemaster’s 2019 game last Sunday. Since then, he had already played “more than five hours a day.”

That’s good news for Charles Leclerc fans. Every time he plays, he returns to streaming on Twitch, meaning during the F1 suspension we’ll still see plenty of Ferrari’s rising superstar. Whether we’ll see others join is another question though.

Red Bull prodigy Max Verstappen refuses to play F1 2019— “I’ll never join that!” he exclaimed in a call with Norris live on Twitch while others like Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen likely have little interest. We’ll see who debuts next.


Twitch staff accused of tricking streamer into promoting brands

Published: 7/Oct/2020 21:28 Updated: 7/Oct/2020 21:34

by Alan Bernal


Twitch streamers are speaking out against the broadcasting platform for attempting to promote brands within individual chats. Content creators are slamming the practice, especially since they have no control of removing the adverts from their channel.

One longtime YouTuber and Twitch streamer who goes by ‘The Black Hokage’ noticed a staffer had dropped a message in his Chat. The purpose of the text, sent by ‘newcryka,’ was to have the streamer acknowledge the listed brand with 400 Bits attached to the post.


He immediately took issue with the move: “Yo, are you promoting something?… You got a Twitch staff symbol next to your name, are you promoting sh*t in my Chat?”

After posting the interaction on Twitter, more streamers slammed the apparent unsolicited advertisement from the streaming platform.


“Creators beware! Twitch staff is now going around donating spare change in an attempt to trick you into shouting out brands without proper compensation. Don’t fall for it,” The Black Hokage said.

Twitch partner and viral streamer ‘negaoryx’ responded: “Which is great, because we can’t moderate anything said by Twitch staff in chat, so we can’t even purge it… great…”

There is a function that lets people ‘/Clear’ their channels messaging log, which lets “broadcasters and chat moderators to completely wipe the previous chat history.” This feature doesn’t apply to messages from Twitch staff accounts.


However the means, content creators and the wider Twitch community got an indication that the streaming platform could experience more intrusive marketing campaigns.

Some believe that The Black Hokage’s clip could have been a Twitch advertisement staff member testing out a new form of social engagement tactics meant for branding – and the thought isn’t unfounded.

In early August, an outside company released how its latest marketing scheme made use of Twitch’s donation alerts to get a branded sound bite played on a streamer’s channel. Their video showed multiple instances of a Twitch account surprising streamers by donating $5 to get a brand’s name and current offerings played on their page.


The idea was immediately chastised for its way of engaging in promotion and sponsorship for a company without consulting or locking a paid deal with the individual streamer. However, despite inevitable backlash, advertisers are still trying out new methods of outreach.

The Amazon-owned streaming site has been incorporating more ways to engage audiences with branding promotions and advertisements.

Amazon solutions for ads have directly integrated Twitch channels and streamers in the past.

“Twitch video and display media, as well as new Twitch audiences, are now available for inclusion in Amazon Advertising campaigns, and Amazon audiences are available for inclusion in Twitch campaigns,” Amazon wrote. “We’re delighted to share that we are combining Twitch’s hard-to-reach and highly engaged audiences with Amazon Advertising’s integrated full-funnel advertising offering.

Days after Amazon announced it had added Twitch to its Amazon Advertising portfolio, the streaming site announced it was testing out mid-roll ads for channels. This too was vehemently criticized by everyone from Twitch streamers to viewers, and the idea was later abandoned.

Twitch has been experimenting with new ad campaigns that have drawn ire from viewers and streamers.

A feature that hasn’t gone back to the drawing board has been the picture-in-picture mode for ads that minimizes and mutes the main stream while playing a fullscreened promotion. This too was received with angst from viewers.

Twitch’s latest attempt at finding a more engaging way to introduce ads to its reported 17.5 million daily users has, again, created ire from its partnered content creators.

As Amazon and Twitch continue to create advertising solutions for its highly-valuable and impressionable audiences, the platform’s streamers will be on the lookout for more marketing tactics that look to benefit off of their communities.