Formula 1 has announced its entry into the esports arena with the launch of the Formula 1 esports series.
The competition will get underway in September this year and is aimed at providing a platform for fans and gamers from all over the world battle it out to uncover the best virtual F1 driver and be crowned F1 esports Series World Champion.
The 2017 F1 esports series is a partnership between Formula 1, racing game developer Codemasters and esports firm Gfinity. The series will be the inaugural season of F1 esports competition and it marks the start of the continued venture of Formula 1 into esports and gaming.
The launch of the competition also coincides with the release of the official F1 2017 game on 25 August.
Competitors will race through three different stages of the tournament, qualification will take place throughout September to establish the quickest 40 drivers. These will then progress to the live semifinal events, to be hosted at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10th and 11th.
The top 20 will then progress to the finals, which will take place at the Yas Marina as part of the 2017 FORMULA 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 24th and 25th November. At the end of a three-race event, the first Formula 1 esports World Champion will be crowned on the same weekend as the final 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The winner will be crowned the Formula 1 esports World Champion, and will also be offered the chance to be the esports champions expert for the 2018 tournament. As such they will automatically qualify for the semifinals of the 2018 tournament, in addition to the cool quirk of becoming a character in the 2018 game.
Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said: “This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans. First, it’s a growing category with tremendous fan engagement that we’re entering in a big way; and we are proud to have Codemasters and Gfinity joining us on this ride.
“Of course as we do in Formula 1, we’ll continue to evolve and innovate in the way we run this virtual counterpart to the F1 Championship to ensure we provide the most exciting and enjoyable experience we can for our fans.”
Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters said: “Esports is one of the fastest growing sectors of gaming already attracting audiences in the tens of millions.
“We are delighted to be announcing this incredible racing series with Formula 1 for our upcoming F1 2017 game. The highly competitive nature and high-speed spectacle of the sport combined with the authenticity of our game will provide a thrilling experience for players and viewers across the world. We look forward to engaging more deeply with our loyal and passionate community, and to bring new fans to both our game and the sport itself.”
Neville Upton, CEO, Gfinity commented: “Formula 1 entering esports is a ringing endorsement for what spectacular entertainment esports provides and how vital it is to cutting-edge organisations that want to push the boundaries of entertainment and fan experiences. Like Formula 1, Gfinity has the experience, skill and infrastructure to put on world-class events and we look forward to delivering fans the Formula 1 esports Series with excellence.”
Esports Insider says: The fast paced and thrilling nature of Formula 1 and the official F1 2017 game means that the expansion into esports is potentially an exciting partnership. This is also yet another notable partnership from London based Gfinity. Of course we already have Formula E in the space so this could mean big things for the sim racers out there…