Donoso Delgado Aiming To Show True Form At Grand Final
November 15, 2018
He was one of the stars of 2017, and started the F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series 2018 with high hopes of another title challenge – but things haven’t quite gone to plan so far for Hype Energy eForce India’s Fabrizio Donoso Delgado. Now, on the eve of the final races of this year’s competition, he knows that it’s time for his undoubted raw pace to translate into crucial points and catapult him back onto the podium.
Donoso’s challenge for the 2017 F1 Esports Series championship went right down the thrilling final lap of the final race. Knowing a win around Yas Marina would guarantee the title, and starting the last lap in P1, the trophy was within touching distance for Donoso – only for it to be snatched away from him by Brendon Leigh, whose dramatic, last-gasp overtake ensured that the record books would forever show his name as the inaugural F1 Esports champion.
“2017 ended up being a good year for me,” he reflects. “I trained myself and was able to make it through to the Grand Final in Abu Dhabi. That whole experience was amazing for me. I was surprised but excited to be in contention for the championship ahead of the final race and I loved the battle I had with Brendon Leigh. It went right to the end and although I ended up losing the championship I realised that in the future I could be fighting for more titles.”
It was a difficult moment for Donoso, but with youth and raw speed on his side it was easy to understand why many fans immediately earmarked him as a champion in the making. In the opening events of the 2018 Pro Series, however, we have seen only flashes of his talent.
A P5 in China in Race Two is his highest finish so far and with six out of ten races completed he lies 12th in the driver standings. There is no doubt that his pace remains and at Silverstone in Race Five it was there for all to see. He had people out of their seats when he powered past Leigh to take P1. Shortly afterwards disaster struck for Donoso via a penalty for speeding in the pit lane. It ended his chance of a precious race win but he remains optimistic when looking ahead to the Grand Final this weekend.
“It has definitely been frustrating at times for me so far in the Pro Series,” he says. “At times I haven’t been able to show my true form, and on the occasions when I have done, the results haven’t quite reflected the pace I have displayed.
“As a team we will be pushing hard and we believe that we can fight for third position overall in the standings over the final races. Personally my main aim is to win as many points for the team, but I know I have the pace to fight for podiums and even for a win. If I can prove that this weekend at the Grand Final I’ll be very happy.
“All the tracks have their own characteristics. So far in the Pro Series races lots of the drivers have been close together for many laps at all the circuits and this means that concentration is so important. If I had to choose which of the remaining circuits I’m most confident about, my picks would be Singapore (Race 8) and Abu Dhabi (Race 10).”
Donoso is a shining example of the global reach of F1 Esports. Though now based mainly in France, he comes from Chile, where he grew up idolising an F1 icon from South America.
“My father was always talking about Ayrton Senna when I was younger and once I had a chance to watch some old races he became my inspiration,” Donoso says. “I have always been fascinated by speed and I was only six or seven when I watched F1 races for the first time with my older brother.
“My interest in F1 really became serious in 2014 because I was gripped by the battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton for the world championship. It was at that time when I started gaming properly too. Back then we never thought that there would be an F1 Esports Series and that the official F1 teams would become involved too. Being part of it and driving for Force India is a dream come true.”