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Matthijs van Erven
Matthijs van Erven, Uralkali Haas F1 Esports

This week marks the start of the 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship, with Formula 1 teams getting ready to battle it out for a piece of the $750,000 prize pot – one of the biggest in Esports.

The Esports season replicates the start of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship by starting off at the Bahrain International Circuit, before heading to China and Austria for rounds 2 and 3 respectively. 

One of Uralkali Haas F1 Esports new recruits, Matthijs van Erven, is relatively new to competitive Esports but has quickly turned the heads of many since his 2018 debut. 

“My path in Esports hasn’t been a very long one. I started playing Formula 1 games for the first time in 2018 when I did some league racing and found out it was fun to do so. At the beginning of 2020, I turned the racing line off as I wanted to get into Esports, and I was ready to go for it completely around the launch of F1 2020. In the first PSGL season, I lost the title at the last race unfortunately, but I got interest from Alfa Romeo Esports to be their development driver for the last event of that F1 Esports season. I helped Jarno and Dani and practiced a lot with them. Then the Challenger Series happened, and I qualified! I’ve been on the podium several times and won a race. Then, Uralkali Haas F1 Esports were interested in signing me, and here I am, more motivated than ever.”

Why do you enjoy Esports?
“I've always liked to play games on a competitive level, so now getting into an official Esports series is the crown on everything. I’m really looking forward to it.”

How do you feel representing the Uralkali Haas F1 Esports?
“I’m very proud that I can say I represent an official Formula 1 team. I don't think many people can say that they've done that.”

Matthijs van Erven

What is the importance of Esports in your opinion?
“I think many people would love to do something in motorsport, but it can be expensive and 90 per cent of people can't afford it, so it's really nice there's Esports for those who have talent but can't race in real life.”

What is the crossover between an Esports driver and a Formula 1 driver?
“There isn't many in my opinion, it's a whole different way of driving but in the end, if you're good at braking, throttle application and steering, you could be good in real life and also in Esports.”

What are your aims for the 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship?
“My aims are getting good experience. It's my first season in a very competitive field so I don't want to put too much unneeded pressure on myself. I hope I can score as many points for myself and for the team.”

What are you most looking forward to?
“The racing. Racing on the highest level there is.”

Who is your biggest competition?
“I don't really have a rival, as far as I know. Me and my friend Thijmen Schütte both made it into Esports for this season after playing a lot together in the lower league racing tiers, so it would be fun to have some good racing with him in this audience!”

Fans can watch the inaugural race of the 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship via official Formula 1 social channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya), as well as select TV broadcast partners from 14:30 EDT.

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