Gfinity have partnered with Formula 1 to produce the Formula 1 Esports Series.
The tournament will be an annual event as part of a long-term investment in Esports by Formula 1, with the inaugural Formula 1 Esports Series set to kick off in September 2017. Qualifiers will take place over September, through which the 40 fastest drivers will qualify for the live semi-final events.
The semi-finals will be held at Gfinity's Esports Arena in London on October 10th and 11th, with the twenty quickest drivers progressing to the finals, which will be broadcast live from the Yas Marina as part of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 24th and 25th.
The champion of the 2017 Formula 1 Esports Series will not only win the opportunity to "live the full experience of the Formula 1 world in one of the 21 Grands Prix of the 2018 Championship", but also be immortalised as a character in the F1 2018 game. The champion will also be automatically given a place in the semi-finals of the 2018 Formula 1 Esports Series.
Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Commercial Operations, said:
"This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans. 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."
Gfinity CEO Neville Upton also stated:
"Formula 1 entering esports is a powerful endorsement to how vital it is for cutting edge organisations to consider esports in their digital offering in order to reach the elusive and lucrative millennial fan base. Gfinity has developed a unique & proprietary technical platform, which coupled with our in-depth experience enable us to deliver a world-class turnkey solution for our global partners. We're very much looking forward to working with Formula 1® on this exciting project"