The Ferrari Driver Academy’s first foray into the F1 Esports Pro Series 2019 could not have got off to a better start. Last night, in the first three races that make up the opening round, David Tonizza took two wins and a third place. It means the Italian sim driver and the FDA Esports team lead both championships.
Bahrain. David, who has adopted the nickname “Tonzilla”, an unintentional mangling of his name that occurred at the Draft at the end of July, performed brilliantly right from qualifying for the first race, the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit. Driving Ferrari number 46, he started from third on the grid, immediately fighting for the lead with Daniel Bereznay (Alfa Romeo) and poleman Frederik Rasmussen (Red Bull). At turn 4, the Hungarian sim driver collided with the Ferrari Driver Academy man, spinning and also collecting Rasmussen. He got a 3 second penalty, while Rasmussen sustained damage to the floor of his car. Tonizza managed to quickly get going again, to be first past the chequered flag, thus becoming the youngest ever winner of an F1 Esports Pro Series race. Behind him came the Renault driven by Dutch former Formula Renault racer, Jarno Opmeer and British driver Salih Saltunç in the second Alfa Romeo. The other FDA Esports Team driver, Amos Laurito had a tougher time finishing 16th from 19th on the grid.
Shanghai. The second race featured the Shanghai track and David started from fourth on the grid. “Tonzilla” got a great start and was soon battling with pole man Bereznay who had to retire soon after. From then on, the FDA Esports Team driver managed his lead over the field, fighting off Rasmussen in the closing stages to stand once again on the top step of the podium, with the Dane second, while third was Germany’s Marcel Kiefer for Racing Point. Amos Laurito started and finished 16th.
Baku. The third and last race of the opening round was held on the Baku street circuit. Rasmussen was totally dominant, finishing ahead of Tino Naukkarinen, the Finnish Williams driver. Tonizza drove a solid race bringing home a valuable 15 points. Laurito also went well, finishing 13th, his best result so far. After three races, Tonizza and FDA Esports Team head both championships with 65 points. “Tonzilla” leads Rasmussen by 22 points and Kiefer by 34. The FDA Esports Team is 21 points in front of Red Bull and is 26 ahead of Racing Point. Round 2 takes place on 2nd October.