Binotto delighted with Leclerc’s involvement in ‘important’ Esports

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says Esports is “important” to uphold the fans’ passion for F1 during the current pause while it also helps sustain the motivation of Scuderia charger Charles Leclerc.

Over a week ago, the Monegasque – racing for Ferrari’s FDA Hublot Esports Team – enjoyed a lights-to-flag win in a Virtual Grand Prix held at Melbourne’s Albert Park, beating the likes of Alex Albon, George Russell and his own brother, Arthur Leclerc in one of his first on-line races.

“Leclerc enjoyed… the Esports,” Binotto told Sky Sports F1. “I think for him, it was important to be back in the cockpit. He was missing the cockpit, he was missing the racing and the emotion.

“I think it has been a great event, a lot of enthusiasm, feedback. I think people were positive, that was good, and it was positive that [Charles] started in pole, finished first.

“That’s what he was looking for, and he enjoyed the moment.”

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Esports events in the motorsport arena have multiplied since F1 and motor racing in general have come to a standstill.

Binotto believes the online racing provides important entertainment for the fans and participants alike in these difficult times while also fulfilling a social role.

“[Sport is] a passion for people, it’s a passion for fans,” he said. “With the Esports and the virtual race we had with Charles – obviously it was only an hour eventually, but still an hour of distraction, an hour which is important, even for the people just to [see] something different, something else.

“I think that sport is passion, sport is enjoyment, and it must remain [that]. Sport is social responsibility, and we should never forget that.”

While Formula 1 remains on pause, awaiting the dissipation of the coronavirus crisis and the world’s return to safety, Binotto is keeping regular tabs on both Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

“I’m in contact with both drivers – maybe not on a daily basis but just making sure everything is going well with them,” explained the Swiss engineer.

“They are both trying to occupy themselves. Obviously they need to stick to the laws of their countries, but they are training, they are trying to keep fit, not only from the physical but the mental as well, so that whenever we come back to the normality, they are ready to start again.”

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