Williams and esports go together like bangers and mash.
The legendary British Formula 1 motor racing team is a household name globally that has expanded its reach by entering the sim world, too. It’s a move we’re seeing more of these days and one that Seb Hawkins, team manager at Williams Esports, takes deep pride in.
“It’s a huge honour to be with Williams. And it’s been really interesting to be part of the journey to work with the guys and see how esports fits into what our brand is and how we operate as an F1 team.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Hawkins over Zoom and to be honest, I almost felt like I was on a tour of the Williams facility. It was hard to mask the fan girl inside of me while admiring the sheer beauty of the room surrounding the team’s head honcho.
“You can see just behind me, that way,” he gestured over his left shoulder.
“There’s a bunch of trophies and all things that I’ve spent hours of my time watching being achieved. To suddenly be here is now a huge achievement for me. You’re reminded of that every time you sort of walk through a different door at the factory.”
Hawkins always loved racing. When he was younger, he watched his dad drive at a club level. After a rally, he’d hop in a sim and try to replicate what he had seen during those weekend races. It all started with a simple setup, a contrast to the plethora of top-notch simulators at the Williams facility he now calls home.
His role is to look after a large roster of drivers, engineers and broadcasting staff. Basically, everything and everyone who functions to provide the results you see on track.
Three of the drivers he manages include Jakub Brzezinkski, Michael Romanidis and Nikodem Wisniewski – the AMG Team Williams Esports squad who fought hard for a second-place finish at Round 2 of the Le Mans Virtual Series this past weekend. An incredible outcome, considering where the #53 LMP car began on the grid.
“Finishing second with the AMG car was fantastic, given we started 15th! As we experienced our first full course yellow of the season, we were able to execute a perfect strategy. Along with our great pace, we were able to capitalise on the situation,” Hawkins said after the big win at Monza.
During our chat prior to the race, the team manager hoped for a one-two finish, stating that is something this group is capable of accomplishing.
“They’re immensely talented drivers. These guys have got a huge CV of races they’ve taken part in for not only years but previously in their careers.”
Williams’ relationship with Mercedes-AMG is a tremendous feat off the track, too. And as Hawkins reflected on the bond between the two, he radiates even more esteem.
“Obviously, a factory brand being involved in sim racing is great for the community anyway. It’s been really nice to work with a top manufacturer that not only competes in sim racing now but has a prestigious name in motorsport. For us to operate that name…we strive to be as professional as possible and our drivers are hugely honoured to be part of that, too.
“The drivers are really enjoying being part of that partnership. We’ve had the ability to go out and do lots of opportunities from the virtual world to the real world. And that’s massive for them.”
From a simple set-up to working with Williams and AMG, Seb Hawkins is an inspiring leader who represents exactly what esports is all about: teamwork and family.
“It is a really good family environment here at Williams and I think that’s important to the success of our team.”
Congrats to AMG Team Williams Esports on grabbing a podium finish at the 4 Hours of Monza! Be sure to follow all of the LMVS action over on our Traxion.GG YouTube channel.