Announced this week, Formula 1 Esports has confirmed 40 players moving on to the next stage of the F1 Esports Series 2018. The Pro Draft will serve as an opportunity for nine F1 teams to choose their driver for the upcoming competitive season.
F1 Esports Series is a joint cooperation between Formula 1, Formula 1 game developer Codemasters, and the UK-based esports company Gfinity.
Players from the world over
The four online qualifying rounds experienced massive success. Sixty-six thousand players from 111 territories around the world joined the competition. Playing on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, the participants completed 1.1 million total laps to reach the final 40 winners. Great Britain produced the most participating players, with 23 percent of total, closely followed by the US with 16 percent. Germany came in third, fielding 13 percent of all participants.
“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,” said Formula 1 Head of Digital Growth and F1 Esports Julian Tan. “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.”
Players will have the opportunity to join one of the nine F1 teams. They are:
- Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
- Red Bull Racing
- Hype Energy eForce India F1 Esports Team
- Renault Sport Team Vitality
- Haas F1 Esports Team
- Toro Rosso Esports Team
- Sauber F1 Team
The draft will take place at the Silverstone Circuit just before the start of the Formula 1 2018 Rolex British Grand Prix. According to the announcement, players will undergo a series of tests, assessments, and interviews with the teams as part of the selection process. Fans will be able to follow the draft via a live stream on Facebook as well as on live television.
“The online tournament has seen a record number of competitors and the competition has been incredibly competitive,” said Gfinity Chief Commercial Officer Mark Brittain. “We now look forward to welcoming the top players and their potential Teams to the Gfinity Esports Arena for the Pro Draft as we enter the second phase of our activation.”
$200,000 prize pool sweetens competitive landscape
After the draft, the selected pro gamers will represent their teams during the season. Three live events will prove who the 2018 F1 Esports Series Teams and Drivers champions will be. A $200,000 prize pool should sweeten the deal for the top team.
The F1 Esports scene has been enjoying increased popularity during the last couple years. Not only has the scene expanded in terms of participating players, it’s attracted interest from several companies and high-profile persons.
Renault, for example, entered the scene in February this year, joining forces with Team Vitality. Fernando Alonso, the two-time F1 world champion, also got in on the action by partnering with G2 Esports and Logitech G in November last year.
It’s clear the scene is heading in the right direction, and the recently announced draft should further propel the positive development.
Editorial credit: meunierd / Shutterstock.com