When asked earlier this week whether he felt that the Red Bull Racing/AlphaTauri group held an advantage over other F1 Esports Series Pro Championship teams due to more minds in the melting pot, Marcel Kiefer was quick to dissuade this way of thinking. He did, however, take lengths to highlight how impressed he was with the quality of all drivers between the two squads – in particular Sebastian Job.
The former Porsche Esports Supercup champion is now three rounds into his first season of a Formula 1 game-based contest – let alone the highest tier of racing you can find on the platform. Known mostly for his iRacing outings, there was lots to talk about with the British pilot.
“It’s been a huge change, to be honest,” explained the Red Bull Racing Esports squad member who drives for SCUDERIA ALPHATAURI Esports Team in this competition alongside Joni Tormala and Dario Iemmulo.
“The main difference for me is I’ve had to change my driving style in many, many ways. The biggest adjustment has been braking. I’m a lot softer on it and I have to focus more on trail braking.
“From a competition standpoint, there’s a lot more depth in the field. The times are incredibly close and the driving style of the game lends itself to it. The amount of practice is quite tiring. I’m feeling it!”
Transitioning between sims is often a great source of debate for the armchair pundits with some drivers easily able to float between them, see Kevin ‘Siggy’ Rebernak, and others, like Job, content to master one. For Sebastian though, this new experience has been a positive one thus far despite the lack of points.
“I’ve enjoyed being a part of it! It kicked me into gear and helped me practice more effectively. It feels like a different discipline almost.
“Going into the first race I had no goals or ambitions, I felt like some of the pace was there but it wasn’t quite enough [to score points]. I’d like to get into the points a few times. In my mind, I should be getting better with each event.”
It was genuinely enlivening to hear how humble Job was in this new environment. Taking his many years iRacing experience into account, he has successfully surrounded himself with people he can learn from including Frederick Rasmussen who, for Seb’s money, is the best in the business right now. He went as far as to say that without this network of drivers, he would be nowhere near the points.
Nevertheless, it is still a frustrating scenario for a natural winner;
“I’ve gone from expecting to win every race to somewhere where there aren’t many eyes on me. It’s a breath of fresh air but the pressure is still there. It’s more gradual than sudden. I can relax a bit more, take a step back and learn. I’m trying not to be too hard on yourself. I do get angry in practice but in terms of at the races? I feel nervous but not as nervous as expected.”
Seb believes that the crammed schedule of F1 Esports Series Pro Championship, in particular, does harm his practice as you are learning three tracks instead of one – as opposed to PESC which had a similarly short season length in 2021 but only two races on the same track each round. Wet weather is also a new factor that adds to his balance issues.
After a solid first outing across Bahrain to the Red Bull Ring though, I believe that it won’t be too long before we see this feisty competitor helping his team off the bottom of the Teams’ table. The Formula 1 Esports Pro Championship series returns with Rounds 4 and 5 later this week, 27th October and Round 6 on 28th October.