Every major series should have a stewarding panel at the event shouldn’t they? I mean the FIA has Charlie Whiting at the F1 to oversee proceedings and everyone wants to see racing that is as authentic as every other race series. Live stewarding is an essential for motor sports as moments can be won or lost on the slightest errors between drivers and stewards act as the judgment to innocent and guilty parties, and Sim Racing should be no different. Yet for all of the positives that come out in Sim Racing such as seeing an influx of new events and institutions gaining traction and members, decisions like the one iRacing has made has left a lot of the community angered and disappointed in the direction of their major series’.
In an announcement on the iRacing Forums, Tyler Hudson announced for the 2018 season, there would be no live stewarding as the roles for the stewards were not called up to be relevant and that more mistakes than good had come out of the system.
Now, this is true from iRacing. There hasn’t been the need to ban drivers mid session because of incident limits due to the fact that the automatic incident limit does that for them, and asides from that, the incident point penalties were hugely refreshing for the WCS and the penalties were heavy for not being clean enough. The only reason however that this statement is true is that even before the loss of live stewarding, people were unhappy that in race decisions were being left to post race conclusions rather than an in race decision that could have a meaningful effect on the championship or the race.
While there will be a dedicated appeals process, all of it comes against the iRacing sporting code and not on the etiquette of incidents. Having to get to the area to look at on the iRacing sporting code takes far longer than it should have to due to having to sift through all of the information for a lot of series’ with most of it being irrelevant. Drivers expect to see realism when they go into Sim Racing and that doesn’t just mean from the driving physics, track accuracy and graphics. It also means from in race competition and realism in organisation.
Yes I do understand that racing leagues could implement rules a lot better than what the WCS can due to the fact that they are not governed by having to make the WCS as similar as possible to other World Championship events. On the other hand, would it make iRacing sit up if someone organised a well run F1 league that offered more than $20K and had dedicated personnel? It’s a little off topic to talk about the money but its another sticking point within the community that has began to turn away talented drivers.
More continued decisions that make the iRacing community feel like the iRacing staff are out of touch on the competition level will only mean more people will look elsewhere to showcase their skills no matter how good the simulator is. If there are better rules, more money or more exposure, drivers will flock to series’ that showcase that ability. This is why World’s Fastest Gamer, the Visa Vegas e-Race and the F1 Esports World Championship were so popular with iRacing drivers who proved that they were some of the best in the world.
There are reasons why drivers are upset with iRacing for example with getting iRacing credits instead of money for winning lower tiered events or having a very firm ceiling of $20K dollars year after year and not seeing any development in prize money. Live stewarding being lost in favour of an appeals system related to the sporting code is potentially the straw that could break a lot of camel’s backs. Its not the direction drivers wanted to see and in reality, they were expecting it to go 100% in the opposite direction.
I think that the WCS should see live stewarding including the addition of drive through penalties for incidents during the race that does not just result in say a one race ban after the event. Fans want to see someone taking action, and there is no series in the world from grassroots all the way up to super stardom that does not have live stewarding. Why should iRacers have to skimp out because of it?
If I had the money to put on a well done F1 series, I probably would because for the good of all Sim Racing, everybody needs to be racing against the best with the best decision makers holding down a fair law for everybody to race under. I think that the drivers and the fans are sometimes forgotten and that comes down to the decision of iRacing to brand itself as a small development company. In theory, all iRacing has to do is build a good game. I think that there is a missing link between the two sides and expectation versus reality has been very disappointing for a lot of people over this week.