After parting ways with two F1 Esports champions, Ferrari have signed Pro Championship race winners Bari Boroumand and Nicolas Longuet.
Image credit: Ferrari Esports
Everyone who is a fan of racing is a fan of Ferrari, right? They joined the world of sim racing in 2019, taking a year after all the other F1 teams to join in the fun, and they immediately hit the ground running when they drafted David Tonizza. The Italian driver won the F1 Esports championship in his first season.
But, after having signed Tonizza’s predecessor as champion, Brendon Leigh, for 2021 to race alongside him, both drivers since parted with the Scuderia. Tonizza has signed for Jean Alesi Esports Team, while Leigh has just been confirmed to be signing for Romain Grosjean’s R8G Esports outfit, who currently operate Haas’ F1 Esports team.
There was plenty of speculation as to who would fill their vacancies at Ferrari. Now we know who they have picked up for this year, and it’s two drivers with solid reputations.
Bari Boroumand began his presence in the F1 Esports scene with a bang. The Iranian took part in the Pro Exhibition races that were held on the undercard to the Virtual Grand Prix series in early 2020. In only his second outing driving for Alfa Romeo, he took pole and finished P2.
He was then drafted by Mercedes for the Pro Championship, but only did the single race for them. For 2021, McLaren Shadow picked him up. After a sub-optimal first season, he got his first win. Indeed, he was instrumental in their double championship win in 2022.
After seeing McLaren teammate Lucas Blakeley take the spoils last year, he’s now moved to Ferrari. There, he will hope to make that long awaited charge at winning the title himself.
For many seasons whilst Jarno Opmeer was the leading light on the F1 game, Boroumand was often the only one who could hold a candle to him. Ferrari have every reason to believe that Boroumand will be their best shot at winning the championship for years. But, they also have another efficient driver in the form of their other signing.
After also being majorly underutilised in his first F1 Esports season, Nicolas Longuet has also established himself as a capable and quick driver who can net solid results. He made his debut in the Pro Championship for Red Bull, running one single race in 2019, where he earned a third place finish. That opened the door for him to lead Renault for the following season.
He won two races in 2020. However, after the Alpine rebrand, he didn’t net any wins in 2021. As a result, he jumped ship again to Alfa Romeo, where he took another race win. He hasn’t had a stable home in the Pro Championship, but has certainly demonstrated that he has the ability to get strong points finishes. Such an ability will prove vital as Ferrari gun for that Team’s Championship that has long eluded them.
Rewarding their Champion
Alongside the signings of Boroumand and Longuet was the formal announcement of Jonathan Riley joining the team. He won Ferrari’s own esports series last year and, like previous champions Giovanni de Salvo and Kamil Pawlowski, Riley will be racing in Ferrari colours for this year.
As with de Salvo and Pawlowski, Riley isn’t likely to be involved in their F1 Esports team. Instead, he will be competing on Assetto Corsa Competizione in SRO Esports events. In the past few seasons, Ferrari’s esports series winners competed alongside Tonizza in SRO Esports.
With Tonizza gone, could Boroumand or Longuet be perhaps doubling up their F1 Esports efforts with SRO?
Along with F1 Esports and SRO’s virtual racing championships, Ferrari have also competed in the Le Mans Virtual Series. They have made their intentions clear that they’re going to expand into various GT categories in their press release.
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