F1 » Red Bull signs Nissan gamer Mardenborough

F1 champion Red Bull Racing has added GT Academy protege Jann Mardenborough to its driver development programme ahead of his GP3 Series debut.

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February 17, 2014 8:33 AM

I love this concept. Kids who haven't been in a position to start motor racing at an early age, or any age, being given a chance to turn their incredible gaming minds to real racing. I play poker, and a significant number of the best players in the world come from the competitive gaming world. And it's no joke. Thousands and thousands compete for decent paydays, and those at the top are almost supernaturally intelligent. I still remember being whooped in no more than 5 minutes by a 10 year old in a 1 on 1 online strategy game (cant remember which one) years ago. And he was just one random kid.


February 17, 2014 9:42 AM

Natural progression really, if we look at F1 simulators they are just glorified driving games.

Well done to Horner as he is Ardent, and well done Red Bull for exploring this route of future acquiring of F1 drivers.


February 17, 2014 10:17 AM

It's a great program that Nissan, Playstation and Gran Turismo run. The first winner of the GT Academy, Lucas Ordonez, has finished on the Le Mans 24 Hour podium 2 out of 3 times. Furthermore it has opened up a new door for people to enter the world of motorsport.


February 17, 2014 10:50 AM

Is it just me or is this a slap in the face to any driver that has struggled through years of carting and lower formulas and have had to pay thousands to keep racing whilst trying to accumulate backing.

Yes Yes Yes Leave Me Alone

February 17, 2014 11:00 AM

Its a good concept on paper, video games are pretty realistic these days. In my opinion, to be a good 'video game' racer, you need the same skill set as a 'real' racer - its a great way to open motorsport up for those that aren't priviledged rich kids.

This kid seems to have some friends in high places, so good luck to him!

Yes Yes Yes Leave Me Alone

February 17, 2014 11:02 AM

LeftTaTty: Is it just me or is this a slap in the face to any driver that has struggled through years of carting and lower formulas and have had to pay thousands to keep racing whilst trying to accumulate backing.

I don't see it that way at all - I'm sure Jann would have loved to 'struggle through' karting and the lower formulas, unfortunately that option isn't open to most for financial reasons.


February 17, 2014 11:14 AM

personally I have no time for video games, an am sceptical aout anyone who can master one, being able to transfer that to real life racing. however, it has been noticeable that these gt academy drivers, have been performing well on track when they are given their chance in a car.
whether or not, this can ever translate into f1 ability, remains to beseen


February 17, 2014 11:18 AM

The financial aspect of this is the most interesting I think. The enormous amount of money you need to compete even in the junior series is a part of the problem that leads to an F1 grid half occupied by pay drivers, but it is certainly not the only aspect.

I personally think that one big reason for the pay driver situation is that today's sponsors want to have a bigger say in the team decisions, and that they're often not interested in sponsoring teams at all but rather people. They want a face for their brand and thus they look for a driver that they consider a good brand ambassador rather than completely focus on who's quick, and they could have various sets of criteria for that. Nationality, image, anything really. Picking gamers over rich kids will not be enough to change that.

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