F1 Esports Pro Series 2020: The Grid Assembles
August 28, 2020
The 2020 F1 Esports Grid is now complete. We met our latest 11 drivers on Thrusday, in the Pro Draft Reveal Show, presented by Aramco. With those drivers, plus some signed superstars, we’re all set to meet the grid…
So without further ado, here’s everyone who will be taking part in the 2020 Pro Series!
RED BULL RACING ESPORTS
The reigning teams’ champions opt for three very different personalities, and three very strong drivers. Vice-champion Frede Rasmussen remains at the team, and will seek to add to his three wins from 2019. The quiet and composed Dane was one of the most consistent drivers last season, and will be aiming to go one better.
Marcel Kiefer steps up to Red Bull, having competed for Racing Point in 2019. The German racer, who won the Silverstone race in last year’s championship, switched over to Red Bull in the winter, and was originally placed in the Toro Rosso/AplhaTauri car for the Pro Exhibition races. Making his Red Bull debut for the Interlagos race, he brilliantly won, before going on to engineer Alex Albon’s victory just an hour later. If he can carry this form over, he’s sure to impress.
Tino Naukkarinen’s solid outing in 2019 included a podium in Baku, and he enjoyed several points finishes with Williams to finish P11 overall. Now joining the reigning champions, the first ever Pro Draft pick will have a new kind of pressure to live up to as he seems that elusive first win.
Red Bull retain just one of their title-winning trio this season
FDA HUBLOT ESPORTS TEAM
Just missing out on the teams’ championship, Ferrari Driver Academy Hublot Esports Team consoled themselves with the drivers’ crown for David Tonizza. The popular Italian stays on for another season, with the team and driver looking to be a perfect match ever since he was picked at the 2019 Pro Draft. With three wins and supreme consistency, he was the only driver to score in every race, and if he can repeat that again, he will be a hot favourite for the title once more.
Enzo Bonito also joins the team, having competed for McLaren Shadow in 2019. He had some outings with FDA in the Pro Exhibition races, and this experience may prove vital if he is to hit the ground running with the team. Filip Prensajder is the Italian outfit’s choice from the Pro Draft, and it’s clear to see why. He took four consecutive wins in the Challenger Series, completely blowing away the competition. With three highly competitive drivers in their midst, the fight for track time could get intense.
ALFA ROMEO RACING ORLEN ESPORTS
Alfa Romeo’s 2019 season was one of unprecedented success. With YouTuber Aarava acting as team manager, and with multiple racer-winner Dani Bereznay in the books, it was a solid outfit that took third place in the standings. Bereznay stays on for another season. He scored the final win of the season in 2019, so will have designs on the drivers’ championship.
Jarno Opmeer has become known as ‘Mr Hot Lap’ colloquially for his multiple world record times around time trial circuits and insane one-lap pace. But the Dutchman is quick in a wheel-to-wheel fight too, and this mix of qualifying and race pace is surely what attracted Alfa Romeo to him. Bereznay and Opmeer are joined by Dominik Hofmann, whose last appearance in the F1 Esports Series was at the 2018 Pro Draft. His time away will have allowed him to train and focus in peace, and his fresh perspective could be just what Alfa need to reach the top spot.
Opmeer and Bereznay will form a powerful duo at Alfa Romeo
Fabrizio Donoso Delgado
Out with the old, in with the new. Renault completely re-vamp their roster for 2020. Their first driver was signed during the break, with Nicholas Longuet, who moves over from Red Bull Racing. He only had a handful of outings, but stunned everyone with a second-place finish on his debut in Monza. This result was crucial in helping the team secure the teams’ championship, so he could prove a huge asset in terms of teamwork.
Donoso Delgado returns after missing the 2019 season. His main aim will be to show he still has all the speed that he showed back in the inaugural championship in 2017, where he finished runner-up to Bendon Leigh. The Chilean was Renault’s first draft pick, and they opted for a second, with newcomer Casper Jansen making up the third slot for the French outfit. It’s a mix of experience and youth that is sure to excite in the 2020 Pro Series.
Donoso will hope to show his 2017 runner-up credentials again this year
Williams had a successful season in 2019 – despite not taking a victory, both Alvaro Carreton and the outgoing Naukkarinen were never far away from the podium. The former stays on, and with two podiums in the Pro Exhibition races, he shows now sign of slowing into his second season.
Salih Saltunc’s 2019 was one of frustration; he clearly had the speed, but whether through bad luck or small error, he never quite took the elusive win that he showed he was capable of in 2018. With his season bookended by strong points-finishes, Saltunc might yet step onÂ the F1 Esports podium once more. As their Pro Draft choice, Michael Romanidis steps up, having competed for the team five times in the Pro Exhibition. He’ll form an exciting part of this rapid trio.
Much like Renault, McLaren opt for an entirely new team line-up for 2020. After finishing mid-table and cracking the 100-point barrier, McLaren are looking to keep moving onwards and upwards. And what better way to do that than with World’s Fastest Gamer, James Baldwin? There aren’t many sim racing tournaments Baldwin hasn’t succeeded in, so his influence will be a big driving force in pushing McLaren on to the top step of the podium.
Long-time sim racer Matthias Cologon is also signed by the British outfit, and will be looking to put his extensive running in the ORL leagues to good use. McLaren also sign Spanish driver Dani Moreno to their trio. A multi-disciplined, multi-lingual, and multifaceted roster for McLaren.
BWT RACING POINT ESPORTS TEAM
Racing Point stick to what they know, retaining two of their three drivers from the 2020 season. Lucas Blakeley was their Pro Draft signing in 2019, and has gone on to become one of the forerunners of the series. His second-time-out podium in Suzuka in the 2019 Pro Series put him on the radar, and a breathless win in Monaco – holding back reigning champion Tonizza no less – showed he’s got race-winnning form.
Dani Haddad stays on, and after a solid 2019 campaign in which he scored several times, he’ll be hoping to continue his consistency. Shanaka Clay completes the set. The Briton starred in the Pro Exhibition races during lockdown, brilliantly winning just his second race in Canada, hinting that Racing Point could be a force to be reckoned with in 2020.
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS ESPORTS TEAM
From championship domination, to P8 in the standings in 2019. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mercedes came off the boil in 2019, but in truth, it was a year of learning, and they’re still very much on the front foot. Double-champion Brendon Leigh amassed a good haul of points last season, and still finished P5 overall – the team’s position was down to a hyper-competitive midfield. He was a little inconsistent, but he’s still the same rapid Brendon we know.
Bono Huis took over the reins of Mercedes car #2 during the Pro Exhibition, and remains on board as a full-time racer for the Pro Series as well. The winner of the 2017 Vegas eRace, among other accolades, the Dutchman has plenty of experience and speed to match his team mate.
Huis has swapped McLaren for Mercedes in 2020
And enter their new charge; Bardia “Bari” Boroumand. Born and raised in Iran, Boroumand has excelled in almost everything he’s turned a wheel in. Whether it’s his seven national karting championships, his experience in a Formula 4 car, or his utter dominance in the Challenger Series, he’s surely a force to be reckoned with.
ALPHATAURI ESPORTS TEAM
Change is inevitable. But after swapping their name for a new one and getting a fresh new look, AlphaTauri decided to keep things simple, with some familiar faces for 2020. Joni Tormala’s 57 points were instrumental in helping Red Bull secure the teams’ championship. Now he has a new objective – to help AlphaTauri ascend the table.
Patrik Holzmann scooped the DHL Fastest Lap Award in 2019, and stays on too as a dependable pair of hands and a mainstay of the championship. He enjoyed a smattering of points finishes last year, including a podium in Suzuka. Manuel Biancolilla only got a couple of outings last season, but his place in the team as the Pro Draftee means that he’s got the opportunity to sample the tracks once more.
HAAS F1 ESPORTS
Haas F1 Esports retain arguably the most comedic and light-hearted racer of all in Floris Wijers. He was sublime in the Pro Draft’s knockout racing in 2019, and the step up to racing looked seamless. After a cracking pair of points finishes early on, he came off the boil somewhat, but revitalised for 2020, he’s got the pace to continue, and lift Haas from the bottom of the table.
Wijers will seek to regain his early 2019 form as he leads Haas this season
Race-winner Cedric Thome took an unlikely win in a soaking Canada race in 2019, and so his main aim will be to show it was no flash in the pan. Thome is joined by his 2019 Renault colleague Simon Weigang, who also moves over to Haas, as their Pro Draft pick. The German scored three times in just four outings in 2019, so if he gains more track time for 2020, he’s sure to put more points on the board.
And that’s our grid! Which team has the strongest line-up? Any early contenders for the championships? We’d love to heard your thoughts! Let us know on social media, and of course shout your thoughts in our official Facebook page.
Mark your calendars, the Pro Series gets under way on October 14-15. We’ll see you there!
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