The 2022 F1 Esports season is halfway through and with it, new talents are emerging as favorites. ATRL’s Immy Cousins takes a look at the rise of the rookies.
October 31, 2022
When you think of F1 Esports, there are probably some names that first come to mind; Jarno Opmeer, Brendon Leigh and Marcel Kiefer, to name a few. Jarno and Brendon are both former drivers champions, whilst Marcel is known for his incredible teamwork as part of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports team. Having reached the halfway point of the 2022 F1 Esports season, it has become clear that maybe a new generation of young competitors are taking the spotlight that once shone on the drivers previously mentioned.
The series has been running since 2018, with 5 seasons completed to date. The results of those seasons produced 3 different drivers champions; Jarno and Brendon both claiming two titles each, and Leigh’s current teammate David Tonizza taking the 5th title. Opmeer and Leigh’s previous outstanding performances are still yet to go unmentioned in the 6 events that have happened so far this season and what could be perceived as Tonizza’s downfall since his championship-winning season. But is he the only one who’s facing a decline this season?
Many have been astounded by the performance of the young rookie Thomas Ronhaar who Haas signed up following his success in this year’s Pro Exhibition. Ronhaar currently holds P3 in the championship behind two title contender favourites, McLaren Shadow’s Lucas Blakeley and Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Frede Rasmussen. The Haas driver is 18 points ahead of Opmeer in P4 after taking two race wins in rounds 4 and 5. Whilst we still have half the season to go, Ronhaar seems a strong contender for the title alongside Rasmussen and Blakeley, and with Opmeer not having quite the start to the season he would have hoped for, it seems it may be time for the next generation of champions.
As with all sports, whether virtual or not, there is always a turnover of talent as others outgrow the sport and compete beyond their prime, so whilst F1 Esports could be considered to still be in its early days, it seems there is a new cycle of drivers on the way in pushing the likes of Opmeer, Leigh and Kiefer down the order. Kiefer may be another that has yet to claim the title he so desperately wants but with results worsening since his remarkable 2020 season working alongside Rasmussen, it doesn’t seem like he’s got the fight left to compete with those currently leading the championship.
Lucas and Frede might not be at the rookie level that Ronhaar is and, therefore, cannot be considered part of the new generation of drivers, but they are still two drivers with firm championship hopes that have been building for a few seasons now. Rasmussen has had more poles and race wins than any other driver that has competed in the series but is still yet to claim the championship. However, is that any match for the raw talent and skill Ronhaar has displayed in the first half of the season?
The battle of raw skill vs experienced driver between the current top 3 will be one to watch closely in the final 6 rounds. Many will be rooting for Blakeley or Rasmussen to take their first title; however, Ronhaar is becoming a new fan favourite after his impressive performance. If Ronhaar succeeds this season, it will only show it might be time for some younger talent to join the roster and potentially follow in the footsteps of F1 Esports graduate Cem Bölükbaşı who rose to compete in F2 this season or seize the same opportunities which saw Blakeley and Opmeer compete against Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher in Race of Champions earlier this year. Whilst Blakeley, Rasmussen and Opmeer still have a lot of cards to play, they’ve got rising new talent to fight this season.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hitting the Apex: Detroit Grand Prix
IndyCar returns to the streets of Detroit! ATRL's Eline Luna takes a look at Detroit Grand Prix this weekend.This weekend IndyCar returns to Detroit, a city the series has raced in for over 30 years. Since 1992 the series has raced at a temporary circuit on Belle...
Hitting the Apex: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
It's Barcelona Race Week! Read on to know everything you need to know about the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, formerly known as the Circuit de Catalunya, is a circuit located in Montmeló, near Barcelona. Racing events had taken...
The Legacy of Lella Lombardi
As the only female point scorer in F1, Lella Lombardi was a formidable force in motorsports. As we return to the city of Barcelona where she triumphed, ATRL's Aimée Jenkins takes a look at the Italian driver and her talents. As the Spanish Grand Prix celebrates its...
Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates
Interested in Writing for ATRL?
Contact us now! Fill out the form below and wait for an email from us to get started.
Join Our Newsletter
Subscribe to updates when we post a new article!
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ATRacingLine