Marcel Finishes on Top at Silverstone After Mixed Night for Racing Point F1 Esports Team
Thursday, 3 October 2019
Our F1 Esports partners SportPesa Racing Point had their first win on the 2019 season after driver Marcel Kiefer finished on top of the podium at Silverstone, the team’s “home” event.
Again held at the Gfiniti Esports Arena in London, the 2nd F1 Esports event took place over three races in Canada, Austria and the UK.
It was the first time F1 Esports had visited the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and the track conditions soon turned challenged as the rain started lashing down. Despite going into the event 3rd in the Team’s standings, the day started off with disappointment for the Racing Point drivers as both Marcel and teammate Dani Haddad finished outside the points positions, having been caught napping as the rest of the field dived into the pits for Intermediate tyres.
Further up field there was more disappointment as the race leaders, Williams’ Tino Naukkarinen and Red Bull’s Frederik Rasmussen, were both given time penalties for infringements during their battle for the lead. This meant a good night for the Renaults, as both drivers Cedric Thome and Jarno Opmeer made it onto the podium, either side of last year’s champion Brendon Leigh, in the Mercedes.
Race 2 saw last event’s race winner, Ferrari’s David Tonizza, starting on pole at the Red Bull Ring, followed by Rasmussen. Marcel was further back in 8th, but had contact with Thome on the opening lap and the resulting damage left him off pace for the rest of the race, despite an early pit stop. Dani meanwhile had started right at the back of the grid, and despite battling his way up into the points positions, the final point was cruelly snatched from him by Leigh on the closing lap. Dani was followed up by teammate Marcel, who ran out of laps before he could turn the team’s fortunes around.
Despite some really fierce battling out the front, Rasmussen was unable to get past Tonizza, a feat no doubt attributable to support from his dinosaur mascot “Tonzilla”, and the pair were followed up by the two Renaults.
Race 3 was always going to be the big event for Racing Point, held at their “home” circuit, Silverstone. Again Tonizza was on pole, followed by Rasmussen, but right behind the pair was Marcel. He made it past Rasmussen at the start, but was unable to make it stick. But he stuck close to the race leaders on the opening laps.
Further back, Dani’s fortunes went from bad to worse when contact with Naukkarinen sent him to the back of the grid for the second race running. Despite his best attempts, even leading the race at one point after everyone else had pitted, he was unable to finish higher than 17th.
Up at the front, Marcel was still hanging on to the front runners when Rasmussen finally made it past Tonizza, after a race and a half of trying. Tonizza came into the pits to attempt an undercut, but when he was overtaken by Alfa Romeo’s Daniel Bereznay after his pit, it became clear the overcut was more effective at Silverstone. So when Rasmussen came in for his pit, Marcel stayed out for another lap. Whilst he wasn’t able to get past Rasmussen during his stop, he was able to close the gap right up.
With teams able to give advice over the radio in the 2019 F1 Esports series, Marcel was instructed by the Racing Point race engineers to stay put and charge his ERS for the final stages of the race. It was Lap 11 when he finally made his move, passing Rasmussen and taking the lead. The Red Bull driver did his best to retake the lead but Marcel successfully defended the top spot for a lap and a half to take his first F1 Esports victory, and 25 points for the Racing Point Esports Team.
So after the 2nd event, Racing Point are 4th in the Team’s standings, as is Marcel in the Drivers’ standings and just 3 points behind Renault’s Opmeer. The next event will be on the 6th of November, where the races will take place in Germany, Belgium and Italy. We look forward to seeing more action from our Esports partners Racing Point then.