Proving that gaming and reality are not necessarily as closely linked as we’d sometimes like to believe, Mercedes finished 8th last season and got to pick next. It’s already fielding a very strong squad, with 2017 and 2018 champion Brandon Leigh remaining at the team, and Bono Huis switching from McLaren. Unlike Haas and AlphaTauri, Mercedes opted to pick a newcomer, with Bari Boroumand – who won the qualification process on the PS4 platform – joining for 2020.
Racing Point had next pick, and selected Shanaka Clay. Clay is new to the series and placed third in the Xbox platform qualification, but is a familiar name for the team. The esports series ran a “Pro Exhibition” event alongside the Virtual Grand Prix over the spring and summer, and Clay took part in two events for Racing Point, winning one. Pro Exhibition series overall winner Lucas Blakely stays with the team, as does Daniel Haddad.
Thanks to drivers moving to other teams, McLaren has an all-new line-up for 2020, starting with the World’s Fastest Gamer winner James Baldwin. The team also picked up Matthias Cologon ahead of the Pro Draft, and added Dani Moreno to the squad in the draft. Both drivers qualified for last year’s draft but were not selected.
Williams retains its lead driver, 8th placed Alvaro Carreton, and add Alfa Romeo’s Salih Saltunc alongside him. Michael Romanidis joins the team off the back of a successful Pro Exhibition series for Williams, qualifying through the PS4 platform playoffs.
Out of all of the teams, Renault was the only one to pick two drivers from the draft. Casper Jansen, who won the PS4 platform time trial event, will join 2017 season runner-up Fabrizio Donoso Delgado (pictured) as the team’s draft picks. Renault also signed Nicolas Longuet from championship-winning Red Bull, in a complete driver line-up change from 2019.
The Alfa Romeo team will retain its third-place driver Daniel Bereznay for 2020, adding Jarno Opmeer – who finished one place behind him – from Renault, in what might be one of the strongest contracted driver pairings. Its draft pick is Dominik Hoffman, PS4 platform play-off winner and 2018 Pro Draft qualifier, who’ll make his series debut.