F1 Esports can sometimes feel like a closed shop. Run on a game that has very little in common with the other major esports titles out there, only a handful of drivers jump from F1 Esports to other championships and vice versa.
Someone breaking that trend is Red Bull's Porsche ace Sebastian Job.
A former PESC champion, Job has done the majority of his sim racing on iRacing where he has been the favourite to win whenever he lines up on the grid. But now he is spreading his wings this year, and has dived into the world of F1 Esports with both feet.
We sat down to talk to Sebastian Job ahead of the second F1 Esports Event.
Making the move
When a driver is so well known for one thing, it is rare to see them move to a totally different world, but that is what Job has done.
Renowned for driving virtual Porsches exceptionally quickly, he has jumped into F1 Esports with one goal in mind.
"I want to be the best at what I do." Said Job, "If you can win on F1 and on iRacing you can prove that."
Being the best is certainly an admirable ambition, but to be the best in two titles that can be worlds apart at times is remarkably hard.
"In my dream world, I want to be able to say I won the iRacing World Championship and the F1 World Championship in the same year." Job told us. "In my opinion, and I don't think many people would disagree, they are the two most competitive series in sim racing."
Competitive is right. With 0.1 seconds regularly separating pole position from P6, F1 Esports is a series with razor-thin margins and a steep learning curve.
Unlearning and relearning
Jumping from Porsches to Formula 1 cars requires an enormous shift in driving style. The equipment Job uses remains roughly the same, but how he uses it has had to be radically altered.
"It's been a huge change, to be honest." said Job, "The main difference for me has been I've had to completely change my driving style in many, many ways. The braking has been quite a big change. I used to have a much heavier brake and now I'm going a lot softer on it. I'm going more aggressive initially and I have to focus on the trail braking to get the car to rotate."
Job is in the right place to make all these changes too. Having achieved his iRacing success as part of the Red Bull stable, he has been able to slide into the AlphaTauri team and benefit from the vast knowledge of his teammates and fellow Red Bull racers.
"To be honest, without them I would be struggling a lot! I would be absolutely nowhere without them." Said Job when asked about the influence of his teammates
"When you come onto a new game and you've got no idea whether if you do something it is right or wrong. You can kind of confirm that with them. We've been posting replays and analysing them, checking telemetry of eachother, asking questions. It's a big help."
"If I need to know how to do a corner, I don't have to look anywhere other than Frede (Rasmussen) for the answer. Having that ability is just so helpful. He is literally the best reference you can get."
"You have to learn the basics first. So when I first started driving the F1 game I had to go back to basics and understand just what I should be focusing on. You go back to square 1 and you build up from there [...] That's the biggest obstacle. You have to try unlearn everything and relearn something else."
The targets ahead
While solidly on the pace for the first event, Job was unable to score any points on his F1 Esports debut.
"Going into the first event I didn't have any goals or ambitions because I didn't know what to expect." Said Job, who is used to setting the pace at the front rather than chasing.
"Going into Event 2 we have had to cram things into such a short space of time. I don't know if I want to set myself any ambitions. [...] In my mind I should be getting better each event because I am learning. So my main thing is I just want to see consistent progress."
Despite that, Job did say he is hunting for points, a reasonable expectation given that he just missed out on the top 10 in the first event.
This is perhaps the most competitive grid we have seen in F1 Esports, with the likes of Bari Boroumand and Josh Idowu breaking through at McLaren and Aston Martin's Lucas Blakeley raising his game. It will be a long slog for Job to make it to just a regular top 10 spot, nevermind the top step of the podium, but he has the talent and the support network around him to do it. Count him out at your peril.
Event 2 of the F1 Esports Pro Championships kicks off on 27-28 October and is available to watch via official Formula 1 channels on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. For full information about the Pro Championship visit: https://www.f1esports.com/