Halfway through the season , and there’s plenty to discuss from this season of F1 Esports.
Image credit: F1 Esports
Six races down, six to go. F1 Esports seasons have a tendency of flying by. At least this year the races have been long enough and the action has been spread across more days, so things feel that they have slowed down a little. F1 Esports in 2022 has delivered quite a lot of talking points and the action has been very interesting thus far.
With all that in mind, what did the three most recent races tell us about the season ahead? Here’s our round up of the racing so far from the second F1 Esports event.
More Than One New Face in First Place
Before Event Two, there were 12 drivers who have won official F1 Esports races since 2017. Now, two more have joined that list. First up was Haas rookie Thomas Ronhaar, the Dutch sensation who won the Pro Exhibition event after qualifying via the Time Trial competition.
After the opening event, he had already had a pole, second and third in qualifying respectively but was yet to achieve that fairy-tale win. He immediately righted that in the first race on the Red Bull Ring, as he wrestled his way past Red Bull’s Frederik Rasmussen into T3, who made a mistake and went wide. He never relented despite the pressure, and took his first victory in only his fourth race. In doing so, he earned Haas a lot of points, leaving them fourth in the team’s championship.
In all previous F1 Esports seasons combined, Haas had a total of 84 points. In the first half of this season alone, almost single-handedly thanks to Ronhaar, they are only 13 points away from equalling their entire total since 2018. His teammates Matthijs van Erven and Piotr Stachulec have certainly shown glimpses of potential, but they are yet to deliver the results Ronhaar has managed.
After the Red Bull Ring, it would only be one more race before another new winner joined the exclusive club. McLaren’s Bardia ‘Bari’ Boroumand has, for a long time, been known to be capable of fighting at the top of F1 Esports. The Iranian even went toe-to-toe with Jarno Opmeer in the top league racing championships on F1 2021. However, despite a couple of poles and podiums in the Pro Championship last season, he couldn’t quite earn his maiden victory.
Boroumand finally got that weight off his shoulders as he held off the titanic pressure of Rasmussen to win the Spa-Francorchamps race.
It certainly meant a great deal for Bari. He first appeared in F1 Esports during the 2020 Pro Exhibition races where he took pole in only his second outing, and got the call up by Mercedes but only did the one race as they were prioritising Brendon Leigh and Bono Huis.
Now with McLaren, he’s certainly showing all of his ability and working masterfully with teammate and championship leader Lucas Blakeley. The Scot won the final race of the event in dominant fashion and Boroumand came home P2. In doing so, they further extended McLaren’s lead at the top of the team’s standings with over a 60 point gap to Red Bull.
AlphaTauri Brits impress
2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion Sebastian Job has been making immense strides in his leap from iRacing to the F1 game. Job ended the 2021 F1 Esports season with a podium and also came very close to repeating that in the third race this year, so he has every reason to believe he can run it right at the sharp end.
But it’s his teammate that has been overdelivering. Josh Idowu, formerly of McLaren, scored pole for the Imola race last season and came very close to winning it. However, he failed to score after a last lap coming together with eventual winner David Tonizza.
The Welshman ought to be happy with how he performed in Event Two as in both races he took part in, Idowu finished on the podium in third. After seeing Ronhaar and Boroumand take their first wins, don’t bet against Idowu becoming the next new winner in the series. He is certainly signalling his intent.
Idowu could even be called up to the A-Team next year, as Marcel Kiefer has been struggling. With how competitive F1 Esports is, even with a second place from the Imola race might not be enough. He’s currently behind both Job and Idowu in the standings. Whatever the case, Idowu has proved he has the speed and could be a hot commodity amongst the teams.
Always the Bridesmaid
In both of the races on the Red Bull Ring and Spa-Francorchamps, Frederik Rasmussen narrowly failed to overcome first Ronhaar and then Boroumand. After being within five points of Blakeley before Zandvoort, an intermediate tyre gamble not paying off in the opening laps very nearly put the Danish driver out of the points.
But what could have been a 30 point gap to Blakeley was limited to just 15, as Rasmussen made the most of the track drying up to get back up to third. Although it seems somewhat reminiscent of what Frede has endured in every season of F1 Esports since 2018, as he is constantly coming up short.
Rasmussen has been the only driver that has constantly been in the championship battle over the years. In 2018, he was the only one able to hold a candle to dominant eventual champion Brendon Leigh but missed a couple of races which led to him losing the runner-up spot.
2019 saw him just lose out to David Tonizza and the last two seasons, he was pipped to the post both times by Jarno Opmeer. Could Lucas Blakeley end up burning the ice cool Rasmussen once again? After a dominant Event One with two wins and third, Blakeley began Event Two with a sixth and a fourth, which aren’t terrible results by any means.
Then a dominant display from the Scotsman in the final race at Zandvoort, it must be asked if Rasmussen will be able to overhaul Blakeley and finally get that long awaited first championship. The Dane is the most successful driver of all time in the series in terms of poles and wins, with 14 poles and 10 wins.
He’s also one of the only drivers in the esports racing scene to transfer over to more realistic titles like rFactor 2 and still run right up at the front. Rasmussen is truly one of the greatest drivers in esports racing, and he will certainly have earned the F1 Esports crown if he’s able to mount a comeback against Blakeley. But the McLaren driver will not make it easy for him!
Event Three will take place on 2-4 November with rounds on Monza, Mexico City and COTA.
Who stood out in Event Two of F1 Esports? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!