2018 F1 Esports Series runner-up Daniel Bereznay has left Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports ahead of the 2019 F1 New Balance Esports Series.
The Hungarian finished second in last year’s championship behind Mercedes team-mate Brendon Leigh, who won his second consecutive F1 Esports title. Bereznay was Merecdes’ first and only pick in last year’s Pro Draft, selected fourth overall in the first round.
Their pick proved to be valuable as Bereznay took two wins around Spa-Francorchamps and at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, being the best driver out of the Pro Draft class of 2018. His contribution alongside champion Leigh helped Mercedes win the inaugural teams’ championship and bring home a large slice of the $200,000 prize pool.
Ahead of the 2019 season, multiple drivers have been released from their contracts and will be eligible to re-enter the series via this year’s Pro Draft. 2017’s runner-up and third place drivers Fabrizio Donoso Delgado and Sven Zurner have been released from HYPE Energy eForce India and Renault Sport Team Vitality. Other drivers include Kimmy Larsson and Sonuc Saltunc have been let go from their teams.
With the announcement of Scuderia Ferrari‘s entry into the F1 Esports Series for this season, meaning all ten official FIA Formula 1 World Championship teams will be racing in the Esports Series, Berenzay announced the news that he will be leaving Mercedes.
On his Instagram, Bereznay said that he felt privileged to represent Mercedes in the 2018 season and enjoyed a strong relationship with Leigh, describing him as a ‘very good friend’.
“I am leaving Mercedes AMG F1 Esports. I feel privileged to have been able to represent one of the biggest, and most successful brand in the modern era of Motorsports,” said Bereznay.
“I would like to give a special ‘thank you’ to Brendon Leigh who was not only the most professional team-mate I could have imagined, but he is also a very good friend to me.
“I wish you and the team the best luck, and I am excited to meet you on track. I am up for a new challenge, a new beginning.”
Bereznay is eligible to return to the series through the Pro Draft, if he chooses to do so. His strong performances against the competition and being close to champion Leigh throughout the 2018 season would make him a strong draft choice for the teams. Bereznay is partnered with Veloce Esports, who run Sauber Esports.
The 2019 F1 Esports Series will see the prize pool be expanded to $500,000, compared to last year’s prize pool of $200,000. There will be four live shows taking place at the GFinity Arena in London, starting in September and ending in December.
The Pro Draft will take on Wednesday 17 July, where the ten F1 teams will see the drivers’ run two days worth of challenges to decide the final pool of drivers before they are selected in the draft. Every team must pick at least one driver this year.