Sim racing leagues live and die by their reputation, which takes a long to build and can be destroyed very quickly by rash decisions of a few individuals. New to F1 22 was Formula Euro League, and last month, we reported that they had high hopes for hitting the ground running (here is the link to the article), and FEL had several very well-known drivers signing up for their PC league, 47 drivers in all had signed up, all agreeing to race for the whole season, and last week was the inaugural race. A full grid of 20 drivers did battle in Bahrain, and whilst there were a lot of retirements from the race, that is to be expected for a new league.
FEL was scheduled to head stateside for round two at Miami this week, but when the post went out on their discord asking for attendance, only 13 drivers were available, including reserve drivers. Whilst the season’s opening round had a full grid, a large percentage were reserve drivers. Along with a cancelled pre-season race, also following a lack of attendance, the infuriated league admins decided to cancel the season and several of the admin team have left FEL as a result.
FEL did everything right leading up to their first season on PC. They attracted the attention of a significant number of established and new drivers to take part in the season, with an experienced admin team ready to take on the challenges of running the league. So what went wrong? Why did the attendance suddenly significantly drop? A league cannot run without the drivers taking part in the races they signed up to take part in, no matter how well run the organisation is, so sadly for FEL, whilst the potential was certainly there to make FEL a great success on its opening season, they were let down by the people who had shown interest in taking part.
Starting a league in the height of the holiday season was always going to be risky, and running the races on Friday nights has historically been difficult, and with the size of leagues like WOR and PSGL, it’s even harder to make a new league attractive for drivers to take part in. There are many leagues out there, big and small, and only seven days of the week to run races on, so sadly it is inevitable that several leagues don’t make it. We hope that FEL can rebuild and try again at a later date.