The 2020 season of the F1 Esports Pro Series presented by oil company Aramco commenced earlier this week. Promoted by Formula 1 itself, the game came to be in 2017, and in 2018 official Formula 1 teams joined in. There are 10 teams participating in the 2020 series and more are expected to join in the coming year. Ten F1 teams will compete for a $750,000 prize pool in 12 races across four events.
“F1 esports has grown massively since 2017 in the Gfinity Arena for the semi-finals and even in Abu Dhabi for the Final,” said Brendon Leigh from Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports Team. “Going forward I can only see it getting bigger and bigger and bigger and being a prominent esports series for the near future.” Last year Red bull won the series with a 38 point lead.
This season’s F1 Esports Pro Series is set to be “biggest and most innovative season yet”, with over 237,000 racers have attempted to qualify for the 2020 championship. Those have now been whittled down to 45 qualifiers, with the 10 F1 Esports Pro Series teams having to pick one of those qualifiers each to include in their three-driver line-up. The last round will be live-streamed on Dec. 17 from Brazil.
This year’s tournament will have longer races at 35% of the length of a comparable Formula 1 race and will feature new circuits such as the Circuit Park Zandvoort and the Hanoi Street Ciruit. The first round of races will start with a doubleheader at the Bahrain International Circuit and the new Hanoi Street Circuit in Vietnam for the first time. Each round will feature a different country.
“F1 Esports has had a huge year with the massive success of the Virtual Grand Prix series that we ran through lockdown. This has set us up well for the launch of the 2020 F1 Esports Series, which will be our biggest and most innovative season yet,” said Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports ahead of the start of the new season.
The season will run until December, with a 12-round championship consisting of four events of three races each, and with a proper real-world-aping qualifying format now added. Racers will compete on a bespoke version of Codemasters’ F1 2020 game. It will be run remotely, with drivers racing either in their own homes or at team factories to keep the championship as safe as possible.