One of the fastest-growing sectors of the billion-dollar pro-gaming industry is F1 Esports. Team MenStyleFashion was invited to Renault F1 Team factory for a tour of one of the most technologically advanced Esports training facilities in the world. Housed at Enstone, where the Renault F1 Team cars are designed and built, the factory is also the UK base for Renault Sport Team Vitality, one of Europe’s leading Esports organisations, to train their Esports drivers.
The tour of the facility, was about meeting, training, and playing with the star F1 Esports drivers, and to hear from Renault and Team Vitality on how they’re leveraging real-world F1 technology and practices to develop the next generation of digital athletes.
Team Vitality is an international Esports organisation that was founded by Nicolas Maurer and Fabien Devide in 2013. The team has players from ten different nationalities and boasts some of the biggest players in the world, including the world No.1 FIFA player, world No.1 CS:GO player, and the world champion Rocket League squad.
Team Vitality players compete in a portfolio of nine games with 10 competitive teams. Team Vitality’s main League of Legends roster competes in
the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), which they joined after purchasing Gambit Gaming’s spot. They are sponsored by Orange, Red Bull, Renault and adidas.
Renault Sport Racing
For more than 115 years, motorsport has constituted an integral element of Renault’s DNA. In Formula One, Renault has started more than 600 races and clinched 11 Drivers’ titles, 12 Constructors’ crowns and 177 Grand Prix victories. In 2016, spurred on by this illustrious track record and eager to reaffirm its commitment to the sport, Renault launched an all-new entity encompassing all of the brand’s motorsport activities Renault Sport Racing.
The key objectives were to promote the company’s passion for motorsport to a wider audience while maximising the technological synergies between racing and rally and its road-going sports models.
Meet The Team
On the day we met up with, Jarno Opmeer, ex Renault Sport Academy driver and current F1 Esports driver for Renault Sport Team Vitality.
Dutch Driver Jarno
Nineteen-year-old Dutch driver Jarno is well-known to Enstone, having been a member of the Renault Sport Academy in 2017. He competed on track in F4 in 2016, finishing runner-up, and in Formula Renault Eurocup in 2017. His record as an Esport driver is impeccable, with one win and five podiums in this year’s F1 Esports Series. He currently sits P3 in the drivers’ championship.
Cedric Thomé, F1 Esports driver for Renault Sport Team Vitality. Cedric, from Germany, sits P10 in the drivers’ championship with one win and one victory to his
name. A long-term Esport athlete, he made it through to the F1 Esports Pro-Draft in 2018 and F1 Esports in 2017.
Simon Weigang, Renault Sport Team Vitality Reserve Driver. Simon Weigang (23, from Germany) joined Renault Sport Team Vitality in 2019. Currently reserve
driver, he has competed in one race this season.
Jack Aitken graduated from the Renault Sport Academy in 2019 after a three-year tenure, during which time he competed in the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 Championship. Jack took one race win last year as a rookie in the Formula One support series and races this year with the Campos Racing team as part of his development programme. Jack sits fifth in the 2019 Formula 2 Drivers’ Championship with one round remaining in Abu Dhabi this weekend. He has three wins this season (Baku, Silverstone and Monza) as he looks to chase down the top three in the series. In tandem with his F2 commitments, Jack regularly tests with the F1 team on the simulator and on track and also attends Formula One race weekends as a Reserve Driver.
Max Fewtrell, Renault Sport Academy Driver. Max is in his third year as a Renault Sport Academy Driver, after he joined in 2016 through virtue of winning the British Formula 4 Championship. The Briton claimed his second championship victory in 2018 after sealing the Formula Renault Eurocup title at the final round in Barcelona. That added to his impressive rookie outing in 2017, when he picked up the rookie title after finishing sixth overall in the series.
For 2019, Max raced in the inaugural FIA Formula 3 Championship with French team ART Grand Prix. He finished tenth in the standings with two podiums to his name: second in Austria and later another second place in Hungary. Recently, Max took part in his first Macau Grand Prix.
Antoine Magnan, Commercial Director, Renault Sport Racing Commercial Director Antoine Magnan is responsible for defining and driving the global partnership strategy for Renault Sport Racing. Working closely with Team Principal and Managing Director, Cyril Abiteboul, Antoine develops strategic initiatives around Renault’s motorsport participation, managing business development teams across Viry and Enstone. Antoine joined Renault Sport F1 in 2012 as Business Manager, liaising with technical partners, partner teams and Groupe Renault regarding strategic partnerships. As Head of Partnerships, he was one of the driving forces behind the acquisition of Lotus F1 Team in 2015 and managing supply agreements with partner teams.
Prior to RSR, Antoine worked at HP for six years as Category Manager for Value, Consumer and Business products, responsible for offering, pricing and promotion strategy to achieve the company’s objectives (revenue, margin, market share) for both Corporate and SMB accounts, product life cycle management and forecasting and business development.
Francois Renard, EVP Global Marketing, Groupe Renault Francois Renard’s professional career began in 1992 as a consultant at Andersen Consulting/ Accenture. He then moved to Unilever France as head of Europe product quality in 1994. He took on various country and regional marketing positions in Vietnam, China and Thailand where he managed a number of Unilever brands before being appointed Global Marketing Vice President. He made significant contributions to the development of the corporation and its teams, primarily in Asia with the launch of a new business in China and then in the rest of the world.
In 2015, François Renard was appointed CEO of Kate Somerville (Los Angeles, USA). On 19 November 2018, François Renard joined Groupe Renault and was appointed Global Marketing Director and member of Groupe Renault management committee. On 1 April 2019, François Renard was appointed Executive Vice President, Global Marketing. He became a member of the Groupe Renault Executive Committee.
Mia Sharizman, Renault Sport Academy Director. Mia uses his years of motorsport experience to scout young talent to join the ranks of the Renault Sport Academy, which aims to find and nurture young racing driver talent and progress such prospects through the junior racing ranks all the way to Formula One. Renault’s goal is clear: for an RSA driver to be in Formula One and become world champion with the team.
Dave Thompson, Driver & Race Team Human Performance Manager Passionate sportsman Dave Thompson started his career with a professional football club in
the Premier League where he was exposed to all aspects of day-to-day training and matchday preparation of the Academy, Reserves and 1st team squads. In 2011 he started his tenure at Enstone, over-seeing the physical, mental and nutritional needs of all members of the Lotus F1 Junior Driver Academy, nurturing their development into potential Formula One Drivers. In 2012 he was also appointed to work alongside F1 driver Romain Grosjean as his personal performance coach/trainer and therapist, attending all races in the lengthy F1 calendar, spanning four seasons.
When Renault returned to F1 in 2016, Dave continued his role in developing young driver talent, working alongside Academy Director, Mia Sharizman. Here he provides the knowledge, skillset and education for each driver to be able to perform at the very best of their ability to compete at the highest level of their sport, with the confidence in knowing that they are in their best physical and mental condition possible. He now heads the Human Performance department of Enstone and is the lead role for all sport science demands of the whole team.