Premier motorsport category Formula 1 is venturing into the esports arena with the launch of the Formula 1 Esports Series. The competition, starting in September 2017, will see fans and gamers from all over the world battle it out to uncover the best virtual F1 driver and be crowned the Formula 1 Esports Series World Champion.
The Formula 1 Esports Series is a partnership between Formula 1, Codemasters, the leading racing game developer and publisher; and Gfinity, the global leader in esports events and competitions.
The 2017 F1 Esport Series will be the first year of an annual competition, highlighting the sport’s long-term investment in esports and gaming as well as its continued ambition to build a greater connection with wider audiences, especially younger fans.
The launch of the competition coincides with the release of the official F1 2017 game allowing gamers to get closer to Formula 1 than ever before. Releasing worldwide on PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC (DVD and via Steam) on August 25th, F1 2017 is the most feature rich game in the franchise’s history and the new F1 Esport Series will be open to players on all three platforms. It is available to pre-order now in the F1 Store.
Competitors will race through three different stages. Qualification events will take place throughout September to determine the quickest 40 drivers: these will progress to the live semi-final events, to be hosted at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10th and 11th. The top 20 will 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 November 24th and 25th. 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.
Alongside the pride and prestige of being the first ever champion, the winner will also be the Formula 1 Esports Champion Expert for 2018 and will automatically qualify for the semi-finals of next year’s Formula 1 Esports Series. The first winner will also be offered the opportunity to live the full experience of a Formula 1 race by attending one of the 2018 Grands Prix, as well as becoming a character in the F1 2018 game: a timeless reminder of his or her accomplishment.
“This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans,” explained Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said. “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.”
“Esports is one of the fastest growing sectors of gaming already attracting audiences in the tens of millions,” noted Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters. “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.”
According to Neville Upton, CEO, Gfinity, 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 experience. “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,” he added,