Taken out by Simon Pagenaud while he was on his way to victory in an IndyCar esport game, Lando Norris says maybe it’s time to stop treating it as a game and introduce “real consequences”.
Norris took the lead at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday evening only for Pagenaud, who was out of the running after an earlier crash, to slow down on the racing line.
The Frenchman uttered the words “let’s take him out”.
Norris, who has spent the past two months entertaining fans in esports while Formula 1 awaits the start of the 2020 season, was not impressed.
The McLaren driver spends hours in his simulator, working on strategy as well as learning the tracks.
He says it is time to stop treating esports racing as a game.
Speaking on the latest edition of the ESPN F1 Podcast, he said: “The big conversation is ‘yes, it’s a game’ and so on, so you shouldn’t care about it, but at the same point esports over the last few months has really got to a point where it’s become more serious.
“I know it’s virtually and people class it as a game – it’s become quite a bit more than that over the last few weeks.
“Not only because it’s on TV but personally for different drivers and teams and sponsors, there’s companies and teams and so on which still need this advertising, TV in America with thousands and thousands of people watching it, it’s more than a game now.
“You’d still expect people to act professionally.
“People who have been racing for years and have that experience… although it’s virtual, and which is what everyone uses as an excuse, it was still taken seriously by everyone else [in the race].
“There’s still a lot riding on it, so for someone to be so selfish and just to not care about other people was disappointing at that time, and to see from such a driver. I guess you just have to kind of move on.
“In some ways we’re lucky it wasn’t real. There could have been real consequences.
“In a few weeks, maybe esports will get to a level where there are consequences. You can’t take people too seriously when they’re in a world where they are vulnerable of getting beaten.”