Round 3 of the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship, held at the Portimao, Zandvoort and Austin tracks, showed clear signs of progress for the Ferrari Driver Academy Esports Team. Although it did not get the results its potential suggested was possible, it still picked up more points than at any other round this season. The 30 points now puts it just two behind the fifth-placed McLaren Shadow team.
Results not reflecting progress made. It seemed that the FDA Esports Team was not up to reaping the benefits of all the work of the past few weeks, David Tonizza saw his chances of a possible podium disappear in Portugal, while Brendon Leigh always seemed to come off worst in close fights on track, losing the chance of scoring some good points. Progress was evident mainly in qualifying, with both drivers getting to Q3 most of the time, apart from a mistake from Brendon leaving him in Q2 for Portimao. David even started from the front row in Zandvoort and was fourth on the grid in Austin.
Solid. Tonizza was extremely consistent. After a collision when fighting for a podium finish in Portugal, he limited the damage, bringing home a sixth place, finishing fifth in the other two races. Over the course of the round, he picked up 28 points, the same he had managed from the first six races combined. As mentioned, Brendon was rather unlucky because he was always caught up in hectic fights and all he was left with was two points for ninth place in Zandvoort. While fighting for fifth in the teams’ classification, David is eighth in the drivers’ standings, having overtaken Fabrizio Donoso (Alpine) and sixth place could be in his sights as Marcel Kiefer (Red Bull) is just 11 points ahead. Brendon is still eleventh, six points behind tenth placed Alvaro Carreton (Williams).
Final round. The next and final round of the championship takes place on 15 and 16 December, featuring the track layouts of Imola’s Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
David Tonizza Sim driver
In Portimao I qualified very well to get P2 and then in the race I had to fight to keep that place. In the end I had a slight collision with the guy in front in P3 so we lost a couple of places in the last two corners, so I ended up in P6.
In Zandvoort we started P8 but we were able to deploy a perfect strategy from there, so we gained a lot of places and ended up P5. It was definitely an enjoyable race.
Then in Austin I started from a solid qualifying position – P4 – and in the race we tried something different with the strategy, with a good tyre choice giving us an advantage. I had to defend from those behind me, so I wasn’t able to overtake the guys in front and finished P5. It was a pretty solid performance and I’m looking forward to the final round.
Brendon Leigh Sim driver
The first race in Portugal was a bit of mixed emotions for me. I should have been able to make it to Q3 but I made a mistake. Then we had a very strong race, recovering back up to P8 but unfortunately an incident on the last lap cost me any chance of scoring points.
In Zandvoort we both got into Q3 and the gaps were really close. In the race we had a very good strategy, starting with the Mediums before switching to Softs and I think a podium was possible for both me and David, but a collision with Jarno (Opmeer) meant it didn’t happen.
In Austin, overall we had a good race in terms of damage limitation and I did a good job helping David to get a good result. We are looking to come back even stronger for the final event of the season in the hope of getting a win.
Marco Matassa Team Principal
There were good and bad points from this third round. On the one hand, we came away with our best points haul of the season, which shows we have been doing a good job of improving our overall team performance in recent weeks.
On the other, there’s disappointment at what might have been, the chance of a podium for David in Portugal and not making the most of all our chances. I’m thinking mainly of Brendon who nearly always came off worse in the duels he fought.
In the final three races, we want to aim for much better results, hopefully finishing on the podium. And looking at the potential seen in this past round, I believe more than ever that our team can do it.