Motor racing’s governing body was previously officially tied to the exclusive PlayStation series of games, with an FIA-certified Gran Turismo World Series running from 2018 to 2021.
This included regular online competitions and a number of select Esports events around the world culminating in a World Series final.
However, things have changed since the latest Gran Turismo 7 game launched earlier this year.
The FIA name has quietly disappeared from the current championship, and it is not part of the final World Series event which will take place at Red Bull’s Hangar 7 in Austria next weekend.
Speculation that the FIA has chosen to take a different route on the gaming front has been further fueled by the choice to use the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform for its Esport element of the upcoming Motorsport Games, which takes place in and around Paul Ricard. circuit from October 26 to 30.
Speaking at a Motorsport Games launch event at the French Grand Prix on Saturday, however, the FIA made it clear that the relationship with Gran Turismo is far from over.
Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Frédéric Bertrand, director of the FIA’s Formula E and Innovative Sporting Activities department, explained that the governing body had agreed with Gran Turismo chief Kazunori Yamauchi to put things on hold until that the GT7 platform is more stable.
The game’s launch was far from smooth, as it was beset by a host of issues and issues with the online experience in lobbies early on.
“It’s not over,” Bertrand said when asked about the status of the FIA’s partnership with Gran Turismo.
“For Motorsport Games, the difficulty we had at that point was that they weren’t necessarily ready to support the live event the way we wanted, because of GT7 and everything.
“So we agreed with them that we will work with Assetto Corsa for this one. It’s also easier for us, because it’s more open to many countries.
“But we are still working with Gran Turismo on many other projects. So no, it’s not an end. It’s just an acceptance of a non-exclusive approach, and we think esports needs to be more open.
“That’s what we agreed with Kazunori-san. It’s agreed, and it’s done in a perfectly Japanese way!
Lewis Hamilton and Kazunori Yamauchi pose for a photo with competitors before the Pro-Am race on November 22, 2019 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Jack Thomas – Gran Turismo/Gran Turismo via Getty Images)
Photo by: Gran Turismo via Getty Images
Bertrand said the FIA plans to send representatives to judge GT7’s progress at next weekend’s Salzburg event with a view to renewing the partnership in early 2023 if the game now appears to be in a good enough state. .
“I’ll send my guys in and if we feel it’s ready we’ll go again,” he said. “And then we will probably have another project at the beginning of the first quarter of next year with Gran Turismo.”
Bertrand said the decision to put things on hold with Gran Turismo was made entirely mutually and that he respects Polyphony Studio by accepting that he needed to improve the product.
“At the moment it’s difficult, but they’ve been very honest with us, telling us they need to focus on that one first,” he said.
“So we said, ‘Okay, let’s make it easy.’ We need something for Motorsport Games anyway so we said we had an alternative option we’ll go on this one and then we continue to push forward with development for 2023 with something that is at the level we all expect.
FIA considering global ranking system
Bertrand also revealed that the long-term ambition of the FIA for its involvement in esports was to create a global ranking system covering all major simulation racing games.
“We have decided to participate in a number of events where we will put the FIA logo, and if we can [have arrangements] As we did last year with the Olympic Virtual series, we will see how to work further with them on this concept.
“But we’re thinking more about creating a ranking system. What we would like is to have [something like] the ATP of tennis, translated into Motorsport Esport.
“We would like to be the one who creates the world ranking. So drivers know where they stand globally and where they stand in their region and country.
“It’s a long discussion. You can imagine the number of people we have to convince that we can contribute something!
“For us, we feel we have more to gain by putting everyone under the roof of the FIA with this ranking system. So that’s the goal right now. »
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