Long post here. As possibly the bloke who does the most sim-racing here, (somewhat appropriately for this website I'm not any good though), here are my random thoughts on the whole thing.
1) I honestly didn't watch most of them. I only watched Virtual GPs from Jimmy Broadbent's channel cos F1 2019 is a shite show online (just ask Tiametcornercut) and is only interesting whilst watching a content creator you like. (To be honest, the most engaging bit of sim racing online I saw lately is when Jimmy momentarily died inside after crashing 6 laps into a 24hr Nurburgring race. I really felt his pain).
I tried a couple of the All-Star series, but once you get over the 'omg Jenson, Alonso, Montoya, Fittipaldi, Castroneves and Vettel are all racing McLaren M23s' bit of it, it just didn't engage me for some reason.
(On reflection, probably bad form for a bloke who races in a live broadcast series himself to not support the endeavour.)
2) On the controversies:
a) Audi were obviously looking for an excuse to fire Abt for non sim racing reasons. He gave them one.
b) Only real problem I had with Pagenaud is he tried to lie about it afterwards. I think Ferucci said he wanted to cross the line sideways 'for the lulz' and not actually deprive Askew of the win. That could bite him in the ass because of his rep from F2. I think a different driver might have been judged less harshly. Ultimately though, I don't think anyone will remember these things in a few months.
c) Larsson let his latent attitudes slip out and deserved to be sacked, imo.
d) Not much of an opinion about the guy who got dropped for ragequitting. I'm inclined to think that like Audi & Abt, they wanted a way out for non sim-racing reasons.
3) On real racing drivers not taking it seriously.
As butt-hurt as sim racers get about this, of course it's only a game to real drivers. It is no comparison to doing it in real life and imo it's not realistic to expect them to take it super seriously unless they're being contractually obliged to. If people running sim events with real racers want professional driving standards then it needs to be live-stewarded. Simple as that.
Bit of a tangent here, I've seen a few people who sim-raced seriously first and then went into real racing say that a clean sim-racer is significantly less aggressive than a real driver, and were told by their team/driving instructors to be a lot more assertive in traffic.
This is obviously nothing to do with skill, or even respect/manners, it's because of two things:
First of all, with no risk of being injured and no repair bill, a sim-racer will try to hang on in a corner when being passed much longer than a real racer will. This means if you're passing him, you have to account for him keeping his nose just at your rear wheel all the way out of the corner where a real driver wouldn't bother, and leave room. You can track out on corner exit and 'run the guy out of room' much more frequently in a real race than in sim. And no one will cry about it, either.
And secondly, in a sim-race, you have to assume every other driver is on a single screen with an FOV of 60 degrees or less and effectively has no peripheral vision. He mightn't see you coming in time whereas a real racer will.
4) On future numbers:
iRacing's (not exactly new user friendly) average online count at least doubled whilst this was going on. How much was due to advertising and how much was due to people being cooped up at home, idk. I'll keep an eye on it.
Ultimately the whole thing was just an idle distraction from real racing and will only stick if we have repeated pandemics. Or can't race cars anymore for environmental reasons.
Wallio wrote:2.) People paying the drivers for this! LeClerc is a millionaire, he doesn't need a "donation"!
Lol, Leclerc had his donations system active? That must've
been for charity, he couldn't possibly lack that much self-awareness.
Wallio wrote:4.) On the Parc Ferme, they claimed a "middle of the road rig" (their words) is $8500! I've have built and raced REAL CARS for less than that!
I'd love to know what they define as a middle of the road rig.
Having a quick look around, I'd say I could get a Direct Drive wheel and Hueskenveld pedals for about $4k. Plenty left in the $8.5k for a high-quality stationary rig to mount them on, with triple screens. I wouldn't call that middle of the road, it's very much high end. I think the only step up from there would be a motion rig.
For comparison, I have a relatively cheap cockpit - there's a bit of flex in it, I think it's designed with both a lighter wheel and lighter driver in mind but remember 'budget'/low end is clamping your wheel to a desk - and a mid-range wheel (TS-PC) for under €1,000.
Maybe if they're including an overgeared pre-built PC at extortionate prices.