Great news for the F1 game enthusiast, Formula 1 is finally launching its first official eSports series, which will be based on the F1 2017 video game that is nearing its release date. This series will be a partnership between F1, game developer Codemasters, and eSports specialist Gfinity.
The first ever season is supposed to start with qualification events that are going to be held throughout September, just after the launch of the F1 2017 game set for August 25th. During this qualification event, we will end up with 40 quickest drivers who will then be invited to the live semi-finals at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10-11. The semi-finals will determine 20 fastest drivers that get a ticket for the finals, which will be a three-race event held as part of F1’s season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.
What probably interests you the most is the prize that awaits at the end. In this first ever F1 eSports title, the winner will automatically qualify for the 2018 semi-finals, will be included as a character in the F1 2018 game and be named “Formula 1 eSports champion expert.” F1 commercial boss Sean Bratches stated that “This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans.” He continued by adding that “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.”
Codemasters CEO Frank Saigner also gave a statement about this eSports concept and according to him “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.”
To those who do not know this is actually F1’s first official step into the eSports segment which has been around gaming for years now. Some of the franchises that have been tied to eSports are the Nissan GT Academy program where Gran Turismo gamers get turned into factory Nissan GT and LMP drivers. There is also McLaren with their “World’s Fastest Gamer” project that will see one gamer hired as the team’s F1 simulator driver and at the end, there is Formula E that had a “race-off” involving fans, Bruno Senna and Nico Prost at the London Gfinity venue.