Formula One has become the latest motorsport to officially have a sanctioned esports tournament with the announcement of the Formula One esports Series.
The new tournament is going to be hosted by UK-based esports company, Gfinity, with Semi-Finals to take place at the Gfinity arena in London. The newest iteration of the Formula One game by Codemasters, F1 2017, will be the game used for the tournament.
The inaugural series will run annually with an ambition to build younger audiences and put more investment in esports and gaming. The tournament will start this year in September following the launch of the game this Friday, August 25th. Three stages will be raced by competitors with qualification running throughout the month of September and the 40 quickest drivers (across all formats) to progress to the live semifinals on October 10th and 11th at the Gfinity Arena. The finalists will race at the finale of the real-life Formula One season at Abu Dhabi on November 24th and 25th.
“This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans," said managing director of commercial operations for Formula One, Sean Bratches. "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.”
"Formula 1 entering esports is a ringing endorsement for what spectacular entertainment esports provides and how vital it is to cutting-edge organisations that want to push the boundaries of entertainment and fan experience," added Gfinity CEO, Neville Upton. "Like Formula 1, Gfinity has the experience, skill and infrastructure to put on world-class events and we look forward to delivering fans the Formula 1 esports Series with excellence.”
Formula One is the latest motorsport to run an officially licenced esports series, with Dorna owned MotoGP starting a tournament this year with Sony and the Milestone developed MotoGP 17, and a continued presence for the World Rally Championship (WRC) which is currently in its second year of competetive esports with the KT Racing developed WRC 6.