Formula 1 esports moves up a gear as plans for the Pro Draft have been confirmed for Monday, July 9th in London.
Representatives from nine of the F1 teams participating in F1 Esports Series 2018 will use the Pro Draft to select which drivers will join their esports teams.
The four online qualifying rounds attracted over 66,000 players worldwide, with 111 territories represented from Albania to Zimbabwe. Racers from the UK lead the way with 23% of total participants followed by the USA at 16% and Germany with 13%.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Red Bull Racing, Hype Energy eForce India F1 Esports Team, Williams, Renault Sport Team Vitality, Haas F1 Esports Team, McLaren, Toro Rosso Esports Team and Sauber F1 Team will be offering positions to the Pro Draft drivers, with each team required to select at least one driver from the Pro Draft. Teams such as Williams Racing have already signed drivers to their roster.
The Pro Draft will see drivers from 15 countries – including the UK, Chile, Germany and Finland, amongst others travel to Silverstone ahead of the Formula 1 2018 Grand Prix on July 8th. The Silverstone trip will give drivers the chance to speak to with teams and undergo a series of tests, assessments and interviews to demonstrate why teams should select them.
Once the teams have selected their drivers, they will represent the teams later in the season at three live events to determine the 2018 F1 Esports Series Teams’ and Drivers’ World Champions. A prize pool of $200,000(£151,000) will be allocated to teams based on their positions.
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Growth & F1 Esports at Formula 1 said this about the announcement: “Last year’s series was a great success and based on the level of those who have qualified for this year’s Pro Draft, the 2018 season is shaping up to be even more exciting. The drivers will now battle it out for what is a truly incredible opportunity. With the F1 teams involved, we have been able to combine the power of Esports with the magic of Formula 1, establishing an authentic series that builds on what we have on the grid. We can’t wait to watch the action unfold”
Mark Brittain, Chief Commercial Officer at Gfinity added: “The online tournament has seen a record number of competitors and the competition has been incredibly competitive. We now look forward to welcoming the top players and their potential Teams to the Gfinity Esports Arena for the Pro Draft as we enter the second phase of our activation.”
The Pro Draft will be streamed online on Facebook and live TV.
Esports Insider says: This is an exciting next step for all those involved, drafting seems to be the best avenue for matching players with teams when it comes to traditional sports taking on esports. We have seen similar things from the NBA2k Pro League.