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The French who make F1: Nicolas Longuet, Red Bull Racing virtual driver

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

For the third year in a row, FOM and Liberty Media are organizing the F1 Esports Pro Series, where the best virtual drivers compete for the title of electronic world champion. Fabrizio Donoso proudly wore the colors of Chile and France in the first two editions, and even became vice-world champion in 2017, six points behind the winner, Briton Brendon Leigh. This year, it is the turn of Nicolas Longuet, author of a magnificent second place at Monza, to fly the colors of France in this championship.

Turn One: Hello Nicolas! Can you introduce yourself to readers who don't know you yet?

Nicolas: Hello! I am Nicolas Longuet, I am French and Italian by birth, I am 17 years old and I drive for Red Bull Racing in the F1 Pro Series 2019.

How did you become a Formula 1 fan? Do you have a background in motorsport?

My dad always watched Formula 1 on the weekends, and cars have always caught my attention ever since. I always wanted to watch with him and understand how the sport worked. I started following F1 when I was 5 or 6 years old, in 2007. I have no background in motorsport, but I hope my future will be based around this discipline.

Who is your favorite pilot and why? Does he represent a source of inspiration when you take part in competitions?

Lewis Hamilton is my favorite driver, without a doubt. Since 2007 I have appreciated his personality and his riding style, and seeing him achieve so much success, breaking the records held by Michael Schumacher, gives me the motivation to work and train so hard.

Can you tell us how you became a virtual Formula 1 driver?

For my part, I started playing Formula 1 games on a computer in January 2018, so in F1 2017. During the first two or three months, I loved the game so much that I bought myself a steering wheel. From there, I played every day until I took part in online competitions, and little by little I was able to reach the most prestigious online championship (not counting the F1 Pro Series): the Apex Online Racing League. . The races in this championship are broadcast and seen by thousands of enthusiasts, and that's how I made a name for myself and my career began.

In just 12 months, Nicolas Longuet went from a racing game enthusiast to a virtual driver for Red Bull Racing (© Getty Images)

When did you realize you wanted to become a virtual pilot?

As soon as I got my steering wheel, I knew I wanted to get into esports. I progressed very quickly and felt that there was something I could do.

What can you say to people who don't consider your discipline to be a “real” sport?

People have different cultures and ideas. I cannot force people to think that esports is a sport like any other, everyone thinks what they want. Personally, I am convinced that it is a sport, but no one thinks the same.

What characteristics do you share with a real Formula 1 driver?

I think the main common point between a real and a virtual pilot is passion. They love what they do just as much as I love racing online, and also all the competitive aspect that comes with it.

You race for Red Bull Racing in the F1 Esports Pro Series, a team that has won eight championship titles in real life. What does this mean to you?

I am very honored to be part of such an organization and I can only thank them for giving me this opportunity. I will not disappoint them!

A few weeks ago, Fernando Alonso himself announced that the next Formula 1 world champion will come from esports. As a virtual pilot, do you share his opinion?

With the technology improving every year, the simulators becoming more and more realistic and close to a real car, I don't see why that shouldn't happen. Obviously, the skills you learn in sim racing can really help you go from virtual to real. So maybe the next actual champion will not come from esports, but in the near future it could very likely happen.

What advice can you give to someone who would like to start a career in esports?

A career in esports might sound easy, playing for money, but I can assure you it's not. The time you have to invest to be a competitive minimum is just crazy, and the slightest little mistake can make the difference in whether you win or lose. There is a tremendous amount of mental and physical preparation behind the cameras, and if you're not ready for that you can be quite surprised. My advice would be to always practice, even if the progress is not visible immediately they will come. Never give up, even after a stupid mistake that costs a win, learn from those mistakes and get better.

Thank you !

The next F1 Esports Pro Series meeting will take place after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Wednesday December 4th. Turn One wishes Nicolas good luck in securing his first victory for the 2019 F1 Esports Pro Series season finale!

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