Will Roborace be any good?
The presence of autonomous cars on the roads is highly controversial, but even more controversial is the presence of them in the pit lane, with the introduction of the new autonomous racing series, Roborace, receiving both criticism and support within the motorsport community. This all before their inaugural championship season even takes place, as they remain in a 'test season' of sorts, to work out the problems with their system.
Their biggest problem they face, however, is one that cannot be fixed in testing. No amount of data could resolve it: the lack of personality.
We watch racing not for the technology, or even for the competition, but rather for the euphoric feeling when our favorite driver succeeds, and it's this euphoric feeling that Roborace is void of.
When a heartless machine wins a grand prix, there are no podium celebrations, or excited fans. You never get the chance to see a driver get out of the car, and greet their team after a hard-fought win.
There are never smiles and champagne sprayed, laurel wreaths and milk being drunken, or victory laps around the track accompanied by donuts. There's no singing along to the national anthem, or tears and frustration when the camera pans to your #1 driver with their front wing in the barriers.
In all motorsport currently, fans get to know drivers, and go through their ups and downs alongside them, feeling every DNF, or off-race. Fans are invested in it just as the drivers are, making the losses and wins feel significant. Roborace, however, doesn't have this feeling of significance. There is no investment in the outcome.
Even with the highest quality of racing, the fastest and best looking cars, and the greatest circuits, the sport would be dry, with no consequences or rewards for the viewers. It's our connection and emotion that separates racing from cars driving in circles, and it's those very same traits that are lacking in this autonomous championship. Roborace, it would seem, are no true 'race' series at all.