Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, today announced their entry into the esports arena with the launch of the Formula 1 Esports Series, the world’s fastest and most prestigious virtual racing competition. For the very first time, Formula 1 fans and gamers will have the chance to compete against each other with the same target as the 20 real Formula 1 drivers: to become World Champion! The competition, starting in September 2017, will see gamers from all over the world battle it out to uncover the best virtual F1 driver from across the globe.
The Esports Series is a partnership between the world’s most famous racing competition, Formula 1, the leading racing game developer and publisher, Codemasters, and the global leader in esports events and competitions, Gfinity.
The 2017 series marks the first year of the annual competition highlighting the sport’s long-term investment in esports and gaming as well as its continued ambition to build a greater connect 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 PlayStation4, Xbox One and Windows PC on August 25th, F1 2017 is the most feature rich game in the franchise’s history and the new eSport Series will be open to players on all three platforms.
Competitors will race through three different stages. Qualification events will take place throughout September to determine the quickest 40 drivers who will then progress to the live semifinal events, which will be hosted at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10th and 11th. From here the top 20 will progress to the spectacular 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 Champion will be crowned on the same weekend as the final 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Alongside the pride and prestige of taking the series crown, the winner will also be the Formula 1 Esports Champion Expert for 2018 and will automatically qualify for the semifinals of the 2018 Esports Series. On top of that, the 2017 champ will have the opportunity to live the full experience of the Formula 1 world in one of the 21 Grands Prix of the 2018 Championship and become a character in the F1™ 2018 game – a timeless reminder of his/her accomplishment.
Sean Bratches, Managing Director, 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 said:
“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.”
All the details about the Formula 1 Esport Series and how to compete are available at F1Esports.com.