Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen F1 Esports extended its perfect podium record in the 2020 F1 Esports Series as drivers Jarno Opmeer and Daniel Bereznay delivered three podiums in the third and penultimate event of the season.
The results mean Opmeer keeps the lead in the Drivers’ championship, with the team now assured of a top-two finish in the Constructors’ standings.
The three rounds in the event – in Silverstone, Spa and Monza – produced thrills and another demonstration of the closeness of the field. As the championship headed to Great Britain, a shock qualifying result saw championship leader Opmeer bow out in Q1 and Bereznay miss out on a slot in Q3 for less than one-thousandth of a second.
Starting on the back foot and on split strategies, the pair went all out to recover ground: Jarno made quick work of the cars around him but his comeback drive, seemingly destined for a podium position, was halted when he suffered damage after being hit by Haas’s Floris Wijers.
He still recovered to ninth place, a solid result from 17th on the grid. Daniel, on the other hand, bided his time and clinched an unlikely third place, with the team now outscoring direct championship rivals Red Bull Racing.
The second race, in Spa-Francorchamps, saw mixed feelings in qualifying: both cars booked a place in Q3 but, with Daniel an excellent P2, Jarno’s final attempt was invalidated, relegating him to P10 and another recovery race.
Bereznay made a quick leap for the lead, which he kept until the pit stops despite the pressure put on him by Frede Rasmussen and Marcel Kiefer, as Jarno battled in the tight field.
Both Red Bulls jumped the Hungarian in the pits, but Bereznay kept the pressure on Kiefer for the remainder of the race and performed the pass of the season at the final corner to split the Red Bulls and bring home P2. With Jarno crossing the line in P5, it was a case of extracting the maximum possible from the day.
The final race of the event saw the field tackle the Temple of Speed in Monza. This year’s F1 Esports Series is decided by tiny margins and it was the case in qualifying, where Daniel was the victim of a track limits infractions on his best lap of Q1.
With the Hungarian ace lining up last on the grid as a result, the team’s fortunes were left with Jarno, who delivered a great lap to clinch P2, behind reigning champion David Tonizza of Ferrari. A clever tactical race by the Dutchman saw him close in on the leader in the closing stages, but plans for an attack were foiled by the arrival of two-time World Champion Brendon Leigh.
Jarno having to defend from the Mercedes rather than having the chance to make a move for the win. There was no joy for Daniel instead, his race being virtually over at turn one when he was the innocent participant in a clash, the damage suffered making any recovery impossible.
Despite some misadventures in the three rounds, we continue our perfect podium streak and will enter the final event, in December, with Jarno Opmeer in the best position to claim the drivers’ title; only 32 points separate us from Red Bull Racing in the Constructors’ standings and, with three races still to run, everything can still happen.
Jamie MacLaurin, Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen F1 Esports Team Principal : “We have kept ourselves in the hunt for the Constructors with some good points and it’s going to go right down to the wire against Red Bull Racing. We secured three podiums at Spa, Silverstone and Monza and Jarno still leads the Drivers Championship so there is a lot to be pleased about. I’m really proud of what we have achieved so far as a team, we must give it everything and leave nothing on the table to land our first title in three weeks’ time.”
James Doherty, Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen F1 Esports Team Manager: “The event presented many highs and lows, but overall it has shown our resilience in the fight for this championship. The key is to have both drivers consistently start at the front, as this is the key to bring home big points with both cars. The character and comeback drives of both drivers made sure we are heading into the final event with a real chance of the championship, but we know every single race can make the difference. The pressure is off us, we have secured second in the championship already and we enter the final event as the underdogs.”
Daniel Bereznay: “I was extremely happy with my race performances at Silverstone and Spa, but I am incredibly sorry to the team for letting them down at Monza. These mistakes are making all the difference so far and I will be giving it everything to put myself right up there to fight for my second constructors championship.”
Jarno Opmeer: “This was my worst event so far this year and I feel quite disappointed with myself for making uncharacteristic mistakes that had big consequences. To still outscore our rivals in two out of the three races when it shouldn’t have been the case shows a championship performance. We will give it everything in the final event to ensure we fight for the title until the very last lap.”