The F1 Esports Series will kick off in less than a week’s time with qualifying beginning on 8th April.
Following on from a successful first two championships, the third F1 Esports Series will retain a similar formula to last year’s Series. In order to reach the official racing part of the contest, players will first need to qualify for the Pro Draft, where the official F1 teams will pick the drivers who’ll represent them out on the virtual track.
The scope of those stages, however, is larger this time around. Three qualifying rounds will be open from 8th April to 19th May, with each stage lasting a fortnight. Those who make it through the qualifiers will be eligible for the race-off rounds that run from 27th May to 29th May, with entrants on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One getting a platform-specific race-off to compete in.
After the race-offs comes the Pro Draft on July, shortly after the real-world F1 British Grand Prix. Following that comes the main event, the Pro Series contest, which begins in September and culminates in December. As well as being crowned the F1 Esports Series drivers’ champion for 2019, the eventual winner will earn a share of a $500,000 (roughly £380,000) prize fund.
Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1, said: “Last season was a decisive year for F1 Esports with the inclusion of the first official teams and record audience figures. As we move into this 2019 season, F1 will remain at the forefront of this explosive industry. The potential within this space is extremely exciting both as a commercial opportunity, but importantly, as a way for the sport to engage with the next generation of motorsport fans. We are committed to exponential growth in the world of esports, and as a result the 2019 season is going to be even bigger and better. Having more than doubled the prize fund, we plan to attract even more talent to the series and to continue the upward trajectory we are on.”
Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters, added: “The F1 Esports Series creates exciting opportunities for Codemasters to further engage with our core community and develop experiences for fans with a passion for both virtual and real-world racing. We’re always investigating ways to better integrate esports into our F1 games, as this will encourage more players to test their race skills against the top professionals, and we look forward to welcoming the new talent who will emerge this season.”