Many dream of pulling on the overalls for a Formula 1 team. The professional drivers you see today will have started karting a young age and worked their way up through the ranks in pro racing before reaching the pinnacle of F1.
Today, there is another route into the sport. It is much the same, but without the smell of the tarmac, the feel of the wheel or the dangers that come with professional racing. How is this possible? Through the magic of the Formula 1 Esports Series.
Last year, the 18-year-old Brendon Leigh was victorious at the final in Abu Dhabi, on the same weekend as the close of the F1 season, and he went away with the prize of an “Ultimate F1 Weekend” for the following season, as well as his own character in the next Codemasters F1 video game.
Going up a gear
This time around, things are changing. Nine of the teams competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship will be represented at the Formula 1 Esports Series, and they will race in the three live events that will determine the 2018 F1 Esports Series Teams’ and Drivers’ World Champions with a prize fund of at least $200,000.
The season will be split in two parts. In the first, online racers will be offered the incredible opportunity to earn a place on the official esports driver line-up for one the official F1 teams, including Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Red Bull Racing, Williams, Renault Sport F1 Team and McLaren.
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Growth & F1 Esports at Formula 1 said:
“It has always been our goal to get the teams involved as soon as possible and we are delighted that they have recognised the potential of the F1 Esports Series at such an early stage. Last year’s series was a great success and demonstrated that there is a clear audience and interest in this innovative, exciting form of racing.”
New season, new design
The F1 Esports Series will see the world’s top online racers battle it out on F1 2017, the official game of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, in an effort to win a place in the first ever Pro Draft in July.
According to the official press release, the first event sees them take control of Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes in Shanghai hunting down a podium finish from sixth place with five laps remaining on a wet, but drying, track. The fastest ten players to complete the challenge on each platform will then race off in a live-streamed event final with the top three on each platform qualifying for the Pro Draft.
The Pro Draft is where the official Formula 1 teams involved in the F1 Esports Series will select their drivers for the second part of the season. Every team will select at least one of its drivers from the Pro Draft.
At the end of the four qualifying events and Wildcard stage, the Pro Draft will be held where the top 40 drivers in the world will be eligible for selection by the Formula 1 teams for their respective esports teams.
F1 2017 players on the PlayStation4, Xbox One and PC will be able to enter the first of the four qualifying events from 13 April.
To find out more about the Formula 1 Esports Series click here.