Reigning F1 Esports champion Jarno Opmeer has joined Mercedes’ F1 Esports team for the 2021 Pro Series.
He raced for Alfa Romeo last year, becoming the third different driver to win a F1 Esports drivers’ championship, and helped the team to come second in the constructors’ championship.
The news comes just a week after Brendon Leigh left Mercedes to join Ferrari after he’d spent three years with the Brackley based team.
Also joining Opmeer at Mercedes is former McLaren Shadow driver Dani Moreno.
Moreno entered via F1 Esports last year via the Pro Draft and proved to be one of the standout additions on the grid, finishing the Pro Series eighth in the championship and just behind past champions David Tonizza and Brendon Leigh.
Whilst he had a shaky start to his season, he went on to get a best result of second at Silverstone and completed both of the final two races in fifth.
Bono Huis still remains a part of Mercedes’ esports team, with Opmeer and Moreno replacing Leigh and Bardia Boroumand, the latter of whom only did one race for Mercedes last year.
🔥 Thank You & Goodbye @jarno_opmeer! 🚀
8️⃣ podiums 🏅
4️⃣ wins 🥇
2️⃣nd in Constructors 🥈
1️⃣ F1 Esports Champion 🏆
Wishing a fond farewell to Mr Hotlapper, a man who more than proved himself as an epic #F1Esports driver ⚡️
We wish you all the best 🙌 pic.twitter.com/JtNPmdVRTR
— Sauber Esports (@SauberEsports) January 26, 2021
“We have a very strong new driver line-up with Jarno, Dani and Bono and it underlines our ambitions in the world of esports – we are here to compete at the front, in multiple disciplines and categories,” said Mercedes F1 motorsport strategy director James Vowles, best known for being the F1 team’s chief strategist.
“Jarno won the 2020 F1 Esports Series and performed admirably across the season, he has also shown that he is strong across different platforms.
“Dani had an impressive rookie season last year with a podium at Silverstone.
“He went on to finish in the Top 10 at the backend of the season, improving race on race.
“Bono played an important role in our 2020 F1 esports campaign and has shown great performances on other platforms as well, particularly on rFactor and during the Formula E Race at Home Challenge last year.
“We’re very happy with this new driver line-up and it will help us take the next step in the development of our esports programme.”