Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto says Esports are not only very important for younger generations, but also their Academy.
In 2019 the F1 Esports Pro Series featured all ten teams on the real-life grid for the first time with Mercedes and Ferrari signing up after missing the inaugural season.
And it proved to be a masterstroke for Ferrari as their FDA Hublot Esports Team secured the drivers’ title courtesy of David Tonizza, at the final race in Brazil.
Tonizza scored all of the team’s 184 points in 2019, so unsurprisingly Binotto was very proud of the teenager.
“The 2019 season was the first year that we were participating,” he is quoted by f1esports.com.
“We recognise that it’s a very important factor for younger generations. We have been lucky to win the championship on the very first season, but I think we’ve got the right driver… David Tonizza won the title, which we are pleased about.”
The worlds of motorsport and Esports are becoming increasingly intertwined.
Having now turned 18, the legal driving age in Italy, Tonizza could follow in the footsteps of his fellow gamers in giving real-life racing a go.
Brendon Leigh has appeared in Formula Ford, while Cem Bolukbasi tried out GT racing and Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019.
But most impressive was the achievements of Enzo Bonito who defeated both Lucas di Grassi and Ryan Hunter-Reay back at the 2019 Race of Champions.
Ferrari currently boast the strongest arsenal of junior drivers in F1 – Robert Shwartzman, Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher all appeared at various F1 Esports events in 2019, and they have all landed competitive Formula 2 seats for 2020.
They will be joined on the grid by fellow Ferrari prospects Giuliano Alesi and Marcus Armstrong, and Binotto was clear that Esports does play an important role in the Ferrari Driver Academy.
“We understand the importance of gaming for the new generation, and esports is part of our Ferrari Driver Academy programme,” he explained.
“It’s not something which is fully separated – it is a part of it.”