How Red Bull Racing Esports plans to reclaim an F1 crown

With Max Verstappen recently winning his second world title at the Japanese Grand Prix, and Red Bull Racing seemingly on the way to the teams crown, you’d be forgiven for thinking the team has all the Formula 1 laurels sewn for this season. .

Not so, as the F1 Esports Series Pro competition is only halfway through and Red Bull Racing Esports is in the midst of an intense duel.

Champions in 2019 and 2020, Mercedes-AMG won both the teams’ and drivers’ championships last year, thanks to the efforts of double winners Jarno Opmeer and Dani Moreno.

With competition from teams paying any and all of the F1 Esports prize money, success here is the primary goal for any team taking competition seriously.

Despite being beaten by the Brackley-based team in 2021, Red Bull Racing still finished a very creditable second, and for this season a third title is unquestionably the main objective.

Frede Rasmussen, Red Bull Racing Esports

Heading into the season, however, the team’s most successful driver and Autosport’s 2021 Esports Driver of the Year, Frede Rasmussen was not as confident.

“We are struggling a lot more this year, compared to other teams who are quite slow at the moment,” explained the 11-time F1 Esports race winner.

“This year has been the worst for me so far. In any game. I’m really, really struggling with it. I don’t have high hopes for myself.

Fast forward after the first six races, however, and the Dane has taken a commanding win at Silverstone and four podiums. Alongside a podium for Marcel Kiefer, the team is second in points behind McLaren Shadow.

Based on the first set of events, it will be these two teams that battle for ultimate glory, with the Papaya Clan reborn after the hiring of former Aston Martin driver Lucas Blakeley combined with the first-ever victory in F1 Esports for the Iranian Bardia Boroumand.

However, Red Bull Racing has a few tricks up its sleeve, the first of which is dedicated test and development driver Liam Parnell.

Liam Parnell, Red Bull Racing Esports

Liam Parnell, Red Bull Racing Esports

While Rasmussen and teammate Kiefer are the public faces representing the team at live races, Parnell works with them to set parameters and game plans.

“It’s really important that the setup of the car is perfect,” said Parnell.

“If you were using a bad setup, but you’re a fast rider, you’d still struggle with the flaws.

“Also, race strategy is just as important, especially because the peloton is so close together. Every call needs to be accurate, so we really need the data to be perfect. That’s what I try to do.

After all, in sim racing, testing is unlimited, so a third driver can play an important role in data collection.

“In the real world of Formula 1, they are limited on [the amount of] testing,” Kiefer pointed out.

“They can only use the simulators for training. But we have the exact same equipment to test that we are going to use [in the main races].

“So if you don’t train maybe someone else could come up with something more and it’s all in your head and you just want to stay on top of everything.”

Sebastian Job, Red Bull Racing Esports

Sebastian Job, Red Bull Racing Esports

The Milton Keynes team also looked at different training methods away from actual driving.

“We have been working with mental trainers over the past few days, and we will continue to work for them throughout the season,” said Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Sebastian Job.

“Hopefully it will give us a little edge. I’ve done quite a bit of mental coaching throughout my career so far and I think it’s helped me a lot as a driver.

Like yes, Sebastian Job. The former Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion on iRacing is competing in his second season in F1 virtual racing for the team from Faenza.

When I mentioned earlier that Red Bull Racing Esports had three drivers, what I meant was that it had six, thanks to the second team working together. Job is joined by experienced Joni Törmälä and, in this battle with McLaren, former Woking-based competitor Josh Idowu.

Josh Idowu, Red Bull Racing Esports

Josh Idowu, Red Bull Racing Esports

“The first thing I noticed straight away was that it takes a lot of structure and preparation to set up a good schedule that we all use,” explained 19-year-old Welsh driver Idowu.

“We have installed our simulation platforms close to each other. It just helps to get to know everyone.

“For example, after a training session, maybe a few hours, we’ll take the beanbags. We will regroup, discuss what works and what does not work on the configuration.

The collaborative philosophy is a sentiment shared by Törmälä, which has competed in every F1 Esports competition since its inception in 2017.

“I’ve been a teammate with Frede from the very beginning,” explained the terse Finn.

“We know each other so well, like how we operate in practice, I think that makes a big difference.”

Red Bull Racing Esports Erena, Milton Keynes

Red Bull Racing Esports Erena, Milton Keynes

The six drivers compete side by side in the energy drink brand’s MK-7 building, which houses the Red Bull Erena. It’s this camaraderie, which is also worked on during a pre-season training camp, that helps the unit achieve more consistent results across the roster.

“It’s nice to be here together to bond a little better and we can also go to the gym in the evenings together to maintain physical fitness,” Job continued.

“I think it’s a better atmosphere to be here. You may feel a little lonely when working out behind a screen at home. It is very antisocial work.

“Coming here de-stresses you a bit, at least for me, I really need that social aspect [in order to perform].”

Rasmussen dominates at Silverstone to claim the 11th F1 Esports Series Pro victory earlier this season.

Rasmussen dominates at Silverstone to claim the 11th F1 Esports Series Pro victory earlier this season.

The F1 Esports Series Pro Championship has longer races this year, now up to 50% of the length of an actual F1 event, and a more spaced-out schedule. Now there are four groups of three races, with each qualifying session and race taking place on the same day.

The next series begins on November 2 for the seventh of 12 races, and in the hopes that the virtual team will match the successes of the real-world team this season, overlook Red Bull Racing Esports at your peril.

You can find out more about every Red Bull Racing Esports F1 driver in a recent Traxion.GG Podcast episode, available via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

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