Round 1: Bahrain (20 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P17 – Joni Tormala: P19
Sakhir Qualifying was particularly close, with Alpine Esports’ Longuet taking pole. Our Sebastian Job made it to Q3 and his time was two tenths off pole, which secured him tenth spot on the grid. Our two Sim Racers opted to start the opening race of the season on Soft tyres in the hope of immediately moving up the order. Tormala did indeed get as high as P8 before his front wing was broken by another car, also passing his team-mate, who had sustained damage and meant he could not use his Soft tyre pace. Joni pushed the tyres too hard in the early stages and began to lose ground and had to pit for Mediums on lap 5. Job came in two laps later for a longer stop also needing a new nose and so the pair found themselves down the back of the pack. They found it hard to move forward, stuck behind a train of quicker cars on softer tyres. Joni thus pitted again on the penultimate lap for a new set of Softs and set the race fastest lap in 1:26.115 but finished last. Sebastian Job’s first race for AlphaTauri Esports Team ended in P17.

Round 2: China (20 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P11 – Joni Tormala: P16
In Qualifying on the virtual Shanghai track, our two drivers were again running at a good mid-field pace, Tormala Qualifying tenth and Job 13th. The race started in the rain, with almost the entire field running full wet tyres, apart from Opmeer in the Mercedes. Tormala got away well and came in at the end of the opening lap to switch to intermediates, while Job stayed on the wets. In the end, neither strategy delivered points. With four laps to go the track was drying enough for slicks so everyone pitted for Softs, making it a sort of dry sprint race to the flag. Tormala’s race was ruined when an out of control car slid across the track collecting the Finn’s front wing. Opmeer won, Job got close to the points in eleventh until he was pushed off the track in the closing stages, while Tormala was 15th.

Round 3: Austria (25 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P15 – Joni Tormala: P19
Joni Tormala and Sebastian Job endured a tough time in the Austrian round, as the two Scuderia AlphaTauri Esports Team drivers paid the price for a complicated Qualifying session, which saw them start from P12 and P18 respectively. Tormala tried to move up the order immediately after the start, but in the chaotic early stages he actually dropped two places. A mistake on lap 6 saw him drop to the back of the pack and not even a gamble to switch early to Intermediates at the first sign of rain could change the situation and he came home 19th. Sebastian Job fared no better. He made up a few places, maintaining his pace to see the chequered flag, but he too was outside the points.

 

Sebastian Job:

“In Bahrain I had good Qualifying pace and I was happy to get into Q3 for the first race, but then unfortunately, my lap was the worst I did all session and I ended up P10. We went for a very aggressive race strategy but at the first corner on lap 1, there was a pile up and I got damage which compromised my first stint. I hung on as long as I could against the people on Mediums, when I should have been overtaking them, but I couldn’t because of the damage. And I had a slow pit stop having to change the front wing. I pushed after that but P17 was the most I could do. In China, I was disappointed not to get to Q3. In the race I was fighting for 10th but I pitted one lap too late to change from wets to inters and that cost me a couple of places. From inters to drys, I got the strategy perfect but couldn’t get back to the top ten, but in a battle I got pushed off in the second to last corner. So I feel I was robbed of points. I think we were out of luck as we had better pace than some of the teams ahead of us. At Spielberg, I knew Qualifying would be difficult, but I didn’t nail the lap and had a poor grid position. In the race I made up a couple of places, but coming into the pits for wets, I got brake tested by the guy in front and hit him very hard, breaking my front wing, so I had a slow stop. That was the end of my chances for points as it was almost impossible to overtake in the wet. A very disappointing start to the season and now we just have to work hard for the next round.”

 

Joni Tormala:

“A tough time in Bahrain after I struggled to find any grip in Qualifying so I ended up P15 which is far from ideal. I was still optimistic that I could score some points in the race. I moved up to P8 quite early on but then my front wing was broken by another car, so once again that was my race over, even if I got the fastest lap in the end, which is something I guess. In China I made it to Q3. In the race it was raining and I got a really good start and was up to P8, but in turn 3, some cars collided and one went straight across the track and hit my front wing and there was nothing I could do. In Austria, the rain meant we only had one shot at Qualifying and my lap was only enough for P12, which is frustrating as this is my strongest track. I had really good race pace but it was raining again and we got the strategy wrong and I spun so result-wise, really bad, but pace-wise we were matching the leaders in all races, so there are some good signs and we need to turn that into points for the next time.”