F1 Esports has announced the full list of 30 drivers, three for each team, chosen to race in the official 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship, along with the 12 races that will make up the calendar this year.
Each of the ten real-world Formula One manufacturers has now chosen the three drivers who’ll represent each of them in their official esports squads across 2021, with a mixture of returning drivers and newcomers from the Pro Exhibition back in May.
Some had already revealed some of their choices for the year, with a silly season much like the real sport. That was prompted by the significant switch of British driver Brendon Leigh – twice world champion in 2017 and 2018 – moving from Mercedes to Ferrari. He’ll join up with 2019 world champion David Tonizza, who represents the team again in its third official season.
That hasn’t left a vacuum at Mercedes though, as the team recruited the reigning world champion Jarno Opmeer from Alfa Romeo. Opmeer has been in stellar form so far this year too, topping the table in the PSGL championship which features so many of the official F1 Esports drivers.
Elsewhere, Aston Martin has named an unchanged squad from its 2020 Racing Point lineup. The team will field Lucas Blakeley, Shanaka Clay, and Daniel Haddad, all of whom we’ve seen grabbing podium finishes and wins in series like PGSL and V10 R-League.
At the other end of the scale, McLaren and Alfa Romeo announced completely new driver line-ups. The British team lost Dani Moreno to Mercedes and picked up Daniel Bereznay from Alfa Romeo, Bari Broumand from Mercedes, and qualifier Josh Idowu. Alfa also has two experienced drivers, drafting in Filip Presnajder from Ferrari and Simon Weigang from Haas, to join qualifier Thijmen Schutte.
Alpine – Renault in 2020 – Red Bull, and Williams each retain two of their drivers from last season. Pole specialist Nicholas Longuet and Fabrizio Donoso stay with the French outfit, joined by qualifier Patrik Sipos, while Red Bull’s manufacturer championship-winning duo of Marcel Kiefer and Frederick Rasmussen will have Liam Parnell as a third man. Williams will keep Alvaro Carreton and Michael Romanidis, with lightning-fast newcomer Alessio di Capua alongside.
The other squads all retain a single driver only. Ferrari’s triple-champion line-up adds Domenico Lovece, while Mercedes’ new duo of Opmeer and Moreno will have the highly experienced Bono Huis alongside them. AlphaTauri has selected Red Bull Esports driver Sebastian Job for its team, as the man better known for his iRacing Porsche Carrera Cup exploits switches to F1. He’ll join Joni Tormala who remains with the squad, and qualifier Dario Iemmulo.
Finally, the Haas team will be managed by ex-Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean this season, and it’ll field returning driver Cedric Thome, along with qualifiers Matthijs van Erven and Samuel Libeert.
The championship will run over four, two-day events from October to December, with each event consisting of three, 35%-length grands prix as well as qualifying. There’ll be new tracks to challenge the drivers too, with Portimao and Imola both featuring for the first time as they appear in the new F1 2021 title, while the virtual racers will head back to Zandvoort which was in F1 2020 but the real series saw cancelled.
While points and tyre requirements are just like the real thing, the performance of all ten teams is equalised, and all of the drivers will even use the same, standardised sim racing equipment – ensuring some very close racing.
The Nurburgring GP circuit hosted the second of the three endurance rounds of Lamborghini’s The Real Race series, and in the live-streamed EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) event it was South Africa’s Jordan Sherratt who once again took maximum points.
After half of the championship rounds, Sherratt had nearly twice the points of the next driver in the table – Kevin Siclari – and with his nearest rival absent there was the chance to make hay. Setting a lap time 0.4s faster than the next best driver, he recorded a comfortable pole position and never looked back.
There was some lap one, turn one drama – as usual here – which saw third-place starter Jaroslav Honzik spun around by Taariq Adam. Tommy Razeyre, fourth in the points table, managed to jump Gianfranco Giglioli into second during the pit stops, but the Italian regained his spot with half an hour remaining. However, nobody could touch Sherratt who won by more than half a minute from Giglioli, with Razeyre a further eight seconds back. Honzik did manage to finish seventh with a sterling recovery drive.
In the Americas region, it was William Hendrickson again proving to be the driver to catch. Hendrickson has been trading wins with Fidel Moreira, but just as with the Suzuka endurance race he was untouchable at the ‘Ring. After qualifying on pole, the American took the win at a canter, with a 20s gap to Gabriel Felipe in third – and Moreira a huge 35s further back. In fact only seven cars finished on the lead lap.
Australia’s Terry Rayton scored his first win of the season in the Asia-Pacific region, coming from third on a very sparse grid of just 11 cars to beat polesitter Andrew O'Hara to the finish – by a comfortable 30 seconds, with Davlish Singh third and almost a minute behind. After his first podium at Zandvoort last time out, the result puts Rayton up into fourth in the table ahead of Andika Rama Maulana.