Broumand’s long road to Scuderia Ferrari Esports

Bari Broumand, full name Bardia Broumandgohar, is a 21-year-old Iranian racing driver who competes in F1 Sim Racing for Scuderia Ferrari Esports.

Broumand started kart racing when he was six years old and took to it instantly. He remembered when his father asked him how he felt about karting after the first few years.

“I would love to do this my whole life,” he said.

Iran’s racing scene did not cater to drivers as young as Broumand, so he had to race in classes with older drivers, in the Junior class. He was regularly on pole position and winning races during his early career.

Bari Broumand karting around age 9 or 10. From X
Bari Broumand karting around age 9 or 10. From X

“I need to go to the harder challenge. I need to go to a harder competition,” he remembered.


At 11 years old, he moved to Italy for seven months to race in a karting academy program.

“I felt the Italian championship was the first step of the European competition for me because I was like, OK, in this competition, you can’t just get pole and lead the whole race,” he said.

In 2017, at age 14, he raced in the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals representing Iran in the 125 Senior MAX class, but failed to qualify for the final race due to penalties for rules that he was unfamiliar with; ones they did not have in Iran.

When he was 15, he got to test an F4 car at the Adria International Raceway in Northeastern Italy for two days.

“It was amazing… everyone told me in the team you don’t need to go flat out, just learn the car first, and then you can just build up,” he said.

“I remember I went to the straight. I was like, let’s just go flat out to see how it feels.”

Broumand remembered being around one second slower than the competitive lap times at Adria, which gave him confidence that he could race formula cars.

After the test, Broumand spoke with his father who supported his racing career. “Unfortunately, my dad couldn’t support me anymore,” he said, referring to the high cost of racing in F4, F3, and F2. He and his father thought of other ways to get noticed.

Broumand purchased a Logitech G29 entry-level sim racing wheel and pedal setup. He invested time in learning the F1 video game and was good enough to enter the F1 Esports Pro Draft in 2019, but was too young by several days.

He waited another full year. In 2020, he was drafted by Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports Team. Broumand was their third driver and only raced in one round of the 2020 season.

The following year, he went to McLaren Shadow, developed a partnership with Lucas Blakeley, raced every round of the 2021 season, had two pole positions, and finished fifth in the championship.

In 2022, Broumand helped McLaren Shadow win the Constructors’ Championship and a Drivers’ Championship for his teammate Blakeley. Broumand finished in fourth position of the Drivers’ that season.

Then, he got an offer to drive for Scuderia Ferrari Esports and team up with Nicolas Longuet.

Bari Broumand (left) and Nicolas Longuet (right) of Scuderia Ferrari Esports
Bari Broumand (left) and Nicolas Longuet (right) of Scuderia Ferrari Esports

“Of course, when I saw the opportunity to join Ferrari… I was like I have to take this opportunity,” he said.

“You know, as a kid, everyone dreams of driving for Ferrari. I think it’s a great honor that everyone wants to take at some point. Everyone wants to drive for this special team.”

For the 2023 season, the series was renamed F1 Sim Racing. Due to organizational problems, the second and third events were delayed and the calendar extended into 2024.

Broumand put together a strong campaign this season, with wins at Spa, Las Vegas, and Qatar, but there were problems for the team elsewhere. Longuet was leading at Zaandvort when a game glitch cost them a potential win, and a poor result at Circuit of the Americas hurt their championship hopes. Broumand struggled at Jeddah and Silverstone.

“I said to myself, and I spoke to my dad as well, and he said, ‘If you believe in yourself that you can be a champion one day, then you have to just go to the races and bounce back. You can do it,'” he said.

“I remember when we went back to Maranello after event two, we spoke together and were like OK, we had so many unlucky moments, so many mistakes. But from now on, nothing will stop us. We will just go and we will dominate.

“We really pushed each other to try to be positive, and also thanks to Ferrari as well, they did some mental health sessions and it was really helpful.”

The team came back to the third and final event stronger than ever, finishing one-two in Round 10 and 11, to  clinched the Constructors’ title. The result also put Broumand back into contention for the Drivers’ Championship, although that honor eventually went to Frederik Rasmussen.

F1 Esports event 3, Ferrari Esports team hold up their Constructors' Championship trophy.
F1 Esports event 3, Ferrari Esports team hold up their Constructors' Championship trophy.

Learn more about event three of the 2023 F1 Sim Racing World Championship.

Story originally appeared on Racer