Cem Bolukbasi, from "gamer" to F2: child's play?

Columns: From Kart to F1
The 23-year-old Turk will be the first gamer driver (with real racing experiences, however, editor's note) to take part in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. An epochal event that makes us reflect on the concept of motorsport’s supply chain.

Since the establishment of the FIA ​​Digital Motor Sport Working Group, the world of motorsports simulation and E-racing has almost completely cleared customs, or the dividing line, which today sees a large slice of the market grow increasingly more and even bring higher volumes of business to competitions on the real tracks. The heterogeneity of simulators and virtual competitions offers a starting point for analysis to evaluate the benefits and criticalities of a universe that is anything but detached from reality.

What at the beginning of the phenomenon was a glimmer has, over the years, become more and more a world of its own with events, competitions, and sponsors that have allowed many drivers to jump from Virtual to real tracks, at least among amateurs.

The passage of Cem Bolukbasi, a Turkish driver who joins the Charouz team in Formula 2 in 2022 and thus becomes the first Driver to land in the cadet category - second only to the "Olympus" of Formula 1 - after having had a past in ESports, can only be seen as a positive novelty for the entire Virtual Racing sector.

To be honest, Bolukbasi has also before now taken part in real competitions including karts at the beginning as well as several appearances in the GT Championships, European Le Mans Series, and at the wheel of Formula Renault and Formula 3 single-seaters between 2019 and today. It is difficult to say if this is a mere marketing operation for a further endorsement of motorsport towards these new entities, but we can certainly foresee more of this trend in the future.

Without falling into the rhetoric of true sports and values and the fundamental ingredient of motorsport - danger and the perception of danger which can never be fully reproduced by a video game - it is good to reflect on the cost-benefit ratio of an osmosis which also seems to bring everyone a little closer to that elite world of motorsports but which, in fact, risks creating a further distance from Karting and other foundations that Motorsport cannot absolutely ignore, or do without.

Created by: scorradengo - 13/01/22

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