Williams eSports‘ Tino Naukkarinen says he can cope with the extra pressure set on him for being the first overall pick in the Pro Draft for the 2018 F1 eSports Series.
The eighteen year old from Finland was the first pick out of forty gamers who qualified for the Pro Draft, being selected by Williams with their sole pick for the upcoming series.
Naukkarinen enters the series for the first time and is experienced in the league racing on the F1 games, having started out in 2011 and winning the AOR Championship twice.
The Pro Draft is the first time the sport has ever introduced a draft system, often found in American sports such as NFL, NHL and NBA.
The Finn says that the hard work has paid off and feels proud to be selected first overall in the Pro Draft last July in London.
“Obviously it means a lot for me and for my family, all this hard work in these past years and seeing it paying off is very cool and relieving.” said Naukkarinen.
“Also as 1st ever pick I wrote history what no one can take away from me so that’s pretty unbelievable and awesome to think.”
Being the first pick of the draft often can mean a lot of expectations are expected to be delivered. But with the first ever Pro Draft order decided by a draw, doesn’t mean the first pick team are the worst team in the competition.
When asked if having the tag of the first overall pick for the F1 eSports Series would create any extra pressure for the competition, Tino replied: “No not really,”
“It’s just a number but I’m sure my performances are being watched closely now but I’m confident I can cope with some extra pressure.”
Naukkarinen was Williams’ sole pick in the draft as the team withdrew their remaining draft offers and may look into bringing their own gamers in for the series. McLaren Shadow and Mercedes AMG Petronas eSports have integrated their own line up for the series.
The Finn says he’s honored to join a team like Williams and hopes to bring back the winning days for the team.
“Williams is very traditional team and known to win a lot in the past so i feel very honored to represent them and try to bring glory days to Williams once again.”
The competition for the F1 eSports Series is expected to be tight on who’ll be the Season two champion, with most of the field saying anyone can win the series. Naukkarinen says every team have talent in their roster and listed Mercedes’ Daniel Bereznay as a rival to watch out for.
“Yes that’s true every teams has amazing talents with a lot of pace on them which means there’s not space for mistakes and have to nail everything in every moment to win it.”
“As standouts for this year obviously last years winner Brendon Leigh will be strong this year too, but also my countrymen Joni Törmälä definitely. As a Rival though i need to say Daniel Bereznay from Mercedes, this past year we have had alot of fighting on track and we know each others weaknesses pretty well.”
With the series set to take place in October and the new F1 2018 game to be release ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Naukkarinen says he’s very confident that he can do well on the new game for the series, after testing the game with the beta programme set by Codemasters Studios.
“Very confident” he said. “Because I’m usually quite good adapting to new game very quickly and after playing Beta it definitely suits my driving style more and there’s much more tactics with ERS in now which will make it interesting for sure!”