Qualifiers confirmed for F1 Esports Pro Draft

66,000 players battled it out to secure draft place with the official Formula 1 teams to select their drivers.

Formula 1 has announced the 40 online racers who have qualified for the next stage of the F1 Esports Series 2018, the Pro Draft. 

Representatives from the nine F1 teams participating in the F1 Esports Series will use the Pro Draft to select which drivers will join their own esports teams and compete as a professional in the latter part of the season. 

The Draft will take place on Monday 9th July in London, with the tournament itself being run by Gfinity.

Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, eForce India, Williams, Renault Vitality, Haas McLaren, Toro Rosso and Sauber will all be offering positions in their driver line-ups as part of the series. Every team must select at least one of its drivers from the Pro Draft.

Julian Tan, Head of Digital Growth & F1 Esports at Formula 1 said: “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.”

Over the course of the four online qualifying rounds, 66,000 players competed to secure a place for the Pro Draft, completing over a combined 1 million laps. 

According to the official press release, a total of 111 territories, all the way from Albania to Zimbabwe, were represented in the Draft. The players were competing on the Codemasters title, F1 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Great Britain lead the share with 23% of the players, followed by USA (16%) and Germany (13%).

The F1 Esports Pro Draft will see the players travel from 15 countries, including the UK, Chile, Germany and Finland, amongst others, to the historic Silverstone circuit in the build-up to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

There they will undergo a series of tests, assessments and interviews with the teams to demonstrate why they should be selected.

The Pro Draft will be streamed online on Facebook and will also be shown live on television, with Sky Sports hosting the coverage in the UK. 

Once selected, the official esports drivers will represent their real-world teams later on in the season as they race in the three live events that will determine the 2018 F1 Esports Series Teams’ and Drivers’ World Champions. There will be a prize fund of $200,000 allocated to the teams based on their positions in the team standings.

Of the 40 players confirmed for the Pro Draft, 36 came through the Open Qualification phase: four online events on the F1 2017 game followed by four sets of races on each of the three platforms. Two more players qualified through the Online Qualification Wildcard and are joined by Fabrizio Donoso Delgado and Sven Zurner, who both qualified through last year’s competition finishing respectively 2nd and 3rd.

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Alastair Pusinelli

I am RealSport's Editor-in-Chief having covered almost everything across the board on the platform. Starting with content on football and the Chinese Super League, I have expanded into esports and gaming, via a stint as rugby editor.

With RS now focused on gaming and working alongside Gfinity, I led the site's coverage on the football titles of FIFA, Football Manager and PES. This has enabled me to cover official esports events such as the FIFA eWorld Cup, FUT Champions Cups and the Gfinity FIFA Series.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC.