Ferrari’s Tonizza dominates on F1 debut as Mercedes struggles

David Tonizza won twice for Ferrari as it made its F1 Esports debut, while defending champions Mercedes failed to register a podium.

Ferrari’s Tonizza dominates on F1 debut as Mercedes struggles

The 17-year-old Italian won the first race at Bahrain, following a clash while battling for the lead with Alfa Romeo’s Daniel Bereznay. Bereznay locked his brakes into Turn 4 and hit the Ferrari, causing him to spin and collect the innocent Red Bull of Frederik Rasmussen. 

Rasmussen received endplate damage and neither he nor Bereznay scored points. Tonizza lost a minimal amount of time and handed Ferrari a maiden F1 Esports victory, with ex-Formula Renault Eurocup racer Jarno Opmeer taking second place for Renault. 

The second Alfa Romeo of Salih Saltunc completed the podium ahead of Racing Point’s Marcel Kiefer and defending double champion Brendon Leigh, who rose to fifth from 10th on the grid. 

Tonizza made it two wins from two in China, beating Rasmussen by just 0.516s over the line. Kiefer continued his strong start with third place. 

Bereznay’s nightmare day continued. He started from pole position and led a one-two with team-mate Saltunc early on until Bereznay’s brake pedal failed. “I can’t be this unlucky,” an exasperated Bereznay exclaimed after the incident.

The final race was at Baku and was dominated by Rasmussen – despite the 19-year-old Danish driver admitting to Motorsport.com pre-race that his Baku pace was “not amazing.” 

After Williams failed to score in either of the first two races, Tino Naukkarinen replaced Isaac Price and immediately rewarded the team with second place. Tonizza completed the podium and leaves the first round with a 22-point advantage in the drivers’ championship over Rasmussen. 

Leigh was demoted to 11th in China after a post-race penalty for contact with sim racing veteran Bono Huis (McLaren) but drove to fourth from ninth in Baku. 

His team-mate Patryk Krutyj struggled on his F1 Esports return, with an eighth-place finish in China providing his only points.

It leaves Ferrari as the teams’ championship leaders after its maiden esports event. Red Bull is second and Racing Point rounds out the top three, with defending champions Mercedes down in eighth place. 

shares
comments
NASCAR Heat 4 Gold Edition available now

Previous article

NASCAR Heat 4 Gold Edition available now

Next article

Gamer Gasly wants to get more involved in sim racing

Gamer Gasly wants to get more involved in sim racing
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1 , Esports
Author Josh Suttill
How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize Prime

How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize

An unlikely partnership between World Endurance Championship LMP1 privateers Rebellion Racing and Williams Formula 1's highly-successful sim racing team yielded victory in the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Here's how it triumphed in the biggest sim race ever staged

Esports
Jun 15, 2020
How seriously should Esports be taken? Prime

How seriously should Esports be taken?

As interest in Esports has increased during the coronavirus lockdown, the lines have become blurred between what's real and what's virtual - especially when some high-profile participants seem to be playing for laughs, says Luke Smith

Esports
Jun 10, 2020
Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice Prime

Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice

Daniel Abt's suspension by the Audi Formula E team - and possible loss of his drive - for fielding a ringer in an Esports event could be considered an overreaction. But in a wider context, his employers had little other alternative

Esports
May 26, 2020
How Leclerc is embracing his new mission Prime

How Leclerc is embracing his new mission

The emergence of Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc as a Twitch streaming star has been one of the pleasant surprises of lockdown so far. He says it is giving fans a greater insight into his nature, but that's not his primary purpose

Formula 1
Apr 23, 2020
Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit Prime

Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit

The introduction of Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi to Formula 1's Virtual GP last weekend meant it was a step above the franchise's debut two weeks ago. But a dominant performance from Esports newcomer Leclerc stole the show

Esports
Apr 6, 2020
How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed Prime

How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed

The lack of real track action so far this year hasn't stop drivers from keeping their racing brains 'fresh', as former F1 star Stoffel Vandoorne suggested last weekend.

Esports
Apr 2, 2020
Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now Prime

Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now

MotoGP's virtual #StayAtHomeGP was a sad reminder of some of the storylines that could be unfolding had the real-life season not been delayed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic. While we can bemoan Esports as being a poor relation of the real thing, it has an even more important function to perform

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2020
F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable Prime

F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable

F1 Esports' inaugural Virtual Grand Prix last weekend provided brilliant entertainment to those tuning in to watch a mix of F1 drivers and celebrities battle on track, but was a missed opportunity for marketing its own Esports stars. A change of approach is needed if it is to successfully fill the void until the resumption of proper racing

Esports
Mar 24, 2020