Bigger and better, the F1 esports 2022 season structure is a “massive improvement,” drivers agree.
The Formula One Esports Series Pro Championship has returned with several structural improvements for 2022. Ten teams, 30 drivers, 12 rounds, and a lot of racing action are on the way as young Mercedes driver Jarno Opmeer looks to defend his 2021 title, which he convincingly took over his Red Bull rival Frede Rasmussen.
Previously, A 12-race calendar held from October to December was split into four different events, each containing three races at 35% length, a full-length qualifying, and full-length practice sessions. Each event was held over two days, with two qualifying and two race sessions and one qualifying and one race session on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Despite a single event a month (except for October, which had two), it was a substantially difficult format for the drivers to bear. For example, Lucas Blakely, McLaren Shadow’s driver, explained that he would suffer from terrible headaches when busy race days were on.
This year will see a similar 12-race calendar held from September-December. Also, split into four events containing three races and three full-length qualifying sessions. Each event will span three days instead of two from last year; there will be one qualifying session and one race session for three days. This will create more off-track excitement for spectators as drivers now only have to focus on one track daily. Blakely, expected to be a title contender for 2022, expressed his approval:
F1 esports has also implemented longer races at 50% distance as the new standard length, up from 35% last year. This new rule should bring more excitement to race day. The previous distance races, which usually only called for a single pit stop, were considered boring and repetitive, especially with the cars set to equal performance. As always, whether it be “in real-life” or in the game, F1 looks to bring teams closer together to make the competition more intense, and this does just that as many strategies now open up for drivers and their pit wall crew to experiment with; pure race pace may no longer be enough to earn drivers a spot on the podium.
Some things never change, and that’s good! The 12-day race calendar will feature usual Bahrain as the season opener and Abu Dhabi as the finale, matching traditional Formula One; along with classic tracks returning to the calendar, it should be a treat to watch throughout the esports season.
Round 1 - Sakhir, Bahrain, September 14, 2022
Round 2 - Imola, Italy, September 15, 2022
Round 3 - Silverstone, United Kingdom, September 16, 2022
Round 4 - Red Bull Ring, Austria, October 12, 2022
Round 5 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, October 13, 2022
Round 6 - Zandvoort, Netherlands, October 14, 2022
Round 7 - Monza, Italy, November 2, 2022
Round 8 - Mexico City, Mexico, November 3, 2022
Round 9 - Austin, Texas, USA, November 4, 2022
Round 10 - Suzuka, Japan, December 14, 2022
Round 11 - Interlagos, Brazil, December 15, 2022
Round 12 - Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, December 16, 2022.
Teams, Driver Rosters
Each team will have a three-driver line-up. But with only 20 cars allowed on a track at once, teams can substitute drivers for specific races where necessary. Many teams (called constructors in F1), especially those in the “mid-field,” may use this to their advantage as they can attempt to maximize their point scoring by having drivers focus on practicing laps around a specific track more than others. Obviously, this does affect the individual points of drivers, so top teams who have both or all three drivers able to compete for the championship trophy may run into internal conflicts by running a similar strategy to groups in the mid-field.
For the 2022 F1 esports season, constructors’ driver line-ups are:
• Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports: Jarno Opmeer, Dani Moreno, Jake Benham
• Red Bull Racing Esports: Frederik Rasmussen, Marcel Kiefer, Liam Parnell
• Aston Martin Cognizant Esports: Manuel Biancolilla, John Evans, Simon Weigang
• FDA Esports (Ferrari): David Tonizza, Brendon Leigh, Fabrizio Donoso Delgado
• Alpine Esports: Patrik Sipos, Samuel Bean, Filip Prešnajder
• McLaren Shadow: Lucas Blakely, Bari Boroumand, Wilson Hughes
• Scuderia AlphaTauri Esports: Sebastian Job, Josh Idowu, Joni Tormala
• Williams Esports: Álvaro Carreton, Shanaka Clay
• Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Esports: Dani Bereznay, Nicolas Longuet, Tomek Poradzisk
• Haas F1 Esports: Thomas Ronhaar, Matthijs van Erven, Piotr
Although several teams have not yet officially announced their driver trio, most are likely to retain at least two of their drivers from last year.
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Cover image credit - EA Sports.