Round 10: Imola, Italy (22 Laps)
Joni Törmälä: P4 – Dario Iemmulo: P13
A double debut for the Italian flag in the F1 Esports championship: for the first time, Imola provided the backdrop for an F1 Esports GP and this race also marked the debut at the wheel of the virtual AT02 of Italian driver, Dario Iemmulo from Sicily. He had great speed in the race, but unfortunately paid the price for a poor qualifying. Starting last, he fought his way up the order, all the way to P13: not enough to score points, but he was able to show what he can do. His team-mate for this race, Finland’s Törmälä, made the most of his race pace, going from 17th on the grid to fourth at the flag, despite it being a very close contest with really small gaps between the competitors.
Round 11: Mexico City, Mexico (25 Laps)
Joni Törmälä: P10 – Sebastian Job: P11
The eleventh race saw the sim racers tackle the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. Once again, the level of competition was very high and the gaps between drivers very small, as can be seen from the results sheet: Joni started tenth and managed to score a point, just 4.3 seconds off the winner, Opmeer. Job got the better of a couple of competitors during the 25 lap race, crossing the line in P11 just four tenths behind his team-mate.
Round 12: Interlagos, Brazil (25 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P3 – Joni Törmälä: P13
For the third year in a row, Interlagos was the final race of the F1 Esports season. It was definitely a thriller, right from qualifying when our duo got both AT02s into the top ten, with Joni sixth and Sebastian seventh. The Finn was caught out by a less than perfect start and a strategy that did not pay off, eventually coming home in P13. Everything went really well for Job, as he showed his rivals what he is made of. The Englishman kept pace with the quickest and in the closing stages put on a great show, mixing it with the leaders to take his first F1 Esports podium.
“I was quite nervous but also honoured to be making my F1 Esports debut, even more so given it was at the team’s home race in Imola. A bit of pressure and some bad luck meant qualifying went badly, as I never put a clean lap together. I was under no illusions, as I was starting last in the race. I tried to make up as many places as possible and I managed to keep out of trouble. I decided to go for the undercut to move up the order during the pit stops. The strategy didn’t work that well, but I managed to get as high as 13th, which is not too bad given where I started from. I am pleased to have made my debut in a championship at this level and I hope it’s the first of many more races in the future.”
“In Imola I had a bad qualifying even though my pace was good so I had to start P17. In the race, I think we nailed the strategy and then it was chaos with cars colliding everywhere and in the end, I found myself finishing P4, which is absolutely insane, considering where I started. I had strong runs in Q1 and Q2 for Mexico, but in Q3 I slightly invalidated my lap, which would have put me P3, but I ended up starting from tenth. So I was driving in a train and overtaking was almost impossible, which meant I finished where I started. It wasn’t ideal but at least I still picked up a point for the championship. In Brazil, qualifying was pretty good, I made it to Q3 and got a lap good enough for P6. I was happy with that, as points looked possible. But I got a very bad start and lost two places as I was being cautious not wanting to lose the front wing. People were pitting really early and I was kind of in a bad position as Seb was ahead and so had priority for the pit stop. It meant I had to do one more lap and when I rejoined I was almost last. I made up a few places, I was P8 again and there was complete chaos in the mid field and I lost my front wing. We kept P7 in the Constructors’ and overall, our pace was strong from the very first round. We never gave up and we pushed to the end.”
“For Mexico, I had good pace for qualifying, but only got 13th as I had a lap disallowed when I was comfortably through, which was very frustrating. In the race, me and Joni were quite close together and both went for the overcut. We got the strategy wrong as the overcut was not as powerful as we had hoped and even on fresher tyres we couldn’t make up much ground. I ended up finishing eleventh, one place behind Joni. A frustrating race, as our pace was good but the traffic was too strong. Brazil was awesome. I qualified P7 with a pretty average lap and I was quite lucky to get into Q3 in the first place. In the race, I had a really good opening lap and managed to pass one or two cars. But then I lost a place to Alvaro (Williams) on Softs. I pitted on lap 8 and Joni on lap 9 which allowed me to get ahead of the Williams, which was important for the teams championship. After that I managed to get P3 and so my first podium of the series. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty solid season.”