Upon visiting Red Bull Racing’s Milton Keynes headquarters and nipping inside its ‘Erena’, the three main virtual drivers are sat down, playing FIFA. 2021 Autosport Esports Driver of the Year Frede Rasmussen, Marcel Kiefer and Liam Parnell.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Esports Team drivers Joni Törmälä and Sebastian Job are also nearby, but so is a surprise. Former McLaren Shadow team member Josh Idowu, who has signed for the Milton Keynes-based squad ahead of the first 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship race.
“We’ve got the full boot camp going here at Red Bull, so far everything’s great,” says a clearly excitable Idowu to Traxion.GG.
“After my contract with Veloce and McLaren Shadow ended… I was approached with the opportunity of joining Scuderia AlphaTauri and it was something I wanted to do.”
While the squad is fighting for its own results and points standings, with the teams’ championship paying out the prize money in the F1 Esports Series, its three drivers have been working with the Red Bull Racing Esports team as it prepares for the season ahead.
“Since I joined, the first thing I noticed straight away, there’s a lot of structure and preparation that goes into making a good schedule that we all use,” explained the 19-year-old Welsh driver.
“We’ve got the sim rigs all set up close to each other which helps with getting to know everybody better. After a session of practice, maybe a few hours, we’ll grab the beanbags and we’ll just regroup, discuss what’s working and what’s not working.”
Idowu made his debut in the main championship last year after excelling in the F1 Esports Series Challengers feeder competition and then starting in the 2021 F1 Esports Pro Exhibition.
After a season where McLaren Shadow rotated its driver line-up – with Idowu taking part in six races with the best race result of fifth in Brazil and a pole position at Imola – he’s now looking at a new challenge with new team-mates.
“We’ve got a good team environment, so on the race days hopefully we won’t just be sitting there nervous, overthinking – especially with Marcel Kiefer cracking jokes,” said Idowu.
“For this first event, we decided to do two races each. So, it’ll be me and Seb doing round one in Bahrain, me and Joni will do round two in Imola, and then it’ll be Joni and Seb doing Silverstone.
“All three of us are capable of being at the top, I think. It does make sense for us to do two each and I think it will pay off in the teams’ championship.”
Last year, Scuderia AlphaTauri finished in seventh place, something it will now aim to beat in 2022. With the season starting on 14th September, we’ll soon find out if the refreshed driver line-up has what it takes.