Formula 1 launches eSports championship
21 August 2017 – Formula 1 has announced the launch of its first official eSports series.
Starting in September 2017, fans and gamers from around the globe will battle it out to find the best virtual Formula 1 driver (Formula 1 eSports Series World Champion).
Formula 1 will work with Codemasters, which is preparing for the launch of its latest F1 video game, on August 25, and Gfinity, the global leader in esports events and competitions.
"This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans," said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1.
"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."
Using the F1 2017 game, to be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, competitors will race through three different stages in the 2017 series.
Qualification events will take place throughout September to determine the quickest 40 drivers, who will progress to the live semi-final events, to be hosted at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10-11.
The top 20 will progress to the finals, which will take place at the Yas Marina Circuit as part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 24-25.
At the end of a three-race event, the first Formula 1 eSports World Champion will be crowned on the same weekend as the 2017 season finale.
In addition to taking the crown, the winner will also be the Formula 1 eSports Champion Expert for 2018 and will automatically qualify for the semifinals of next year's Formula 1 eSports Series.
The first winner will also be offered the opportunity to attend a Grand Prix during the 2018 season, as well as becoming a character in the F1 2018 game.
Formula 1 has promised that "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".