Nicolas’s results ensured a season where Alpine Esports scored points in every round of the championship. Highlights included three podium finishes, pole position for Nicolas at Bahrain, COTA and Brazil as well as fastest lap at Shanghai. Team-mate Fabrizio Donoso markedly improved from last season, with a third place at Portimão being the highlight of the Chilean’s season. Newcomer to the team Patrik Sipos also improved as the season went on, recording two points-scoring finishes in the second half of the season.
For the final round of series, teams headed to Imola, a brand-new track introduced to the Formula 1 game this year. Patrik navigated a chaotic race to finish P8 and score valuable points for the team while Fabrizio finished in P14.
Mexico was next on the calendar, with Nicolas replacing Patrik to partner Fabrizio. The strategy was similar for both drivers, starting the medium tyre. Nicolas was leading a DRS train and unfortunately the number of cars in front meant that no real overtaking was possible. Nicolas finished in P7 while Fabrizio was P17.
The final event of the year was in Interlagos. In a stunning repeat of last year’s event, Nicolas delivered an astonishing performance in qualifying, with an unbeatable 1:05:890, more than a tenth clear of everyone else in the field. Fabrizio missed out on Q2 by 20ms and started in P16.
For the race, Nicolas was caught up in the battle for the title, in between the Red Bull of Rasmussen and the Mercedes of Opmeer. The Frenchman managed to keep his cool and crossed the line in third place for another podium finish. Unfortunately, he received a post-race penalty that was awarded for excessive weaving, demoting him to P7. The decision was appealed but the appeal was rejected by the stewards. Fabrizio was involved in an incident, damaging his front wing and finished in P19.
After 12 rounds, Alpine Esports finishes its campaign in P5 in the Constructors’ Standings, and Nicolas eighth, Fabrizio ninth and Patrik 19th in the drivers’ classification.
Fabrizio Donoso: “This was a bit hard to take. This event ended without points for me. I couldn’t quite find the sweet spot that I had in previous events. I was on for a good race in Brazil but I got caught up in the chaos around me. I still think I’ve had a good comeback season for myself and I’m proud of what we achieved as a team this year. Rest is needed but the focus on 2022 begins very soon.”
Patrik Sipos: “For me, it was the last race of the season so I wanted to give it all for the team as I was only racing in Imola. I got into Q3, which is always great to see but you still need to deliver a lap there as well which didn’t happen as I hit the kerb and lost the car. But at the end I scored points so I’m happy to end a year on a positive.”
Nicolas Longuet: “Quite an end to the season. That was one of the hardest final races I’ve ever had in my F1 Esports career. Overall, I’m disappointed on a personal level in terms of my own performances in the first two events but I think towards the end of the season I really improved my qualifying and race strategies. I’m ready for next year!”
Richard Arnaud, coach: “Finishing fifth is not what we wanted, especially how it happened through a questionable stewards’ decision. This was the first year of our new group of drivers and we have to take positives, continue to learn and build, because we have shown great potential in the most competitive season in F1 Esports Series history. Now it is time for some rest before the preparations begin for 2022. We are excited about competing at the front in 2022 with the new cars!”
Alpine Esports Team Launch 2021 Campaign
Alpine Esports Team launch its first virtual racing team in partnership with Race Clutch
The team is set to compete in the 2021 F1 Esports Pro Championship, future Virtual Grands Prix as well as organising the 2021 Alpine Esports Series
Nicolas Longuet, Fabrizio Donoso make up the team’s first F1 Esports Pro Championship line-up
Sim racing experts Race Clutch to train drivers from its HQ in Limoges, France