The first round of the F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco got underway with three thrilling races in Bahrain, Vietnam and China, as drivers set their sights on the huge $750,000 prize pot, in what is poised to be the biggest and best season yet.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic drivers are racing remotely for the first time this year, but the popular live shows continue to be broadcast from the Gfinity Esports Arena in London, as we ensure fans don’t miss a moment of the action.
On Wednesday evening drivers took to the Bahrain International Circuit for the season opener, competing at the increased 35% race-length for the first time this year. Alfa Romeo dominated in the only ‘night race’ on the calendar, with Jarno Opmeer and Daniel Bereznay finishing P1 and P2 ahead of Red Bull’s Marcel Kiefer, who joined them on the podium for the first time this season.
Wednesday’s double-header continued with an F1 first as the drivers became the first to race competitively on the brand-new Hanoi Street Circuit in Vietnam, albeit on the F1 2020 official video game developed by Codemasters, rather than the real thing. The multiple long straights and sharp turns made for dramatic racing, which saw last year’s champion David Tonizza come out on top for Ferrari in a tense battle with Renault’s Nicolas Longuet for the win; Jarno Opmeer rounded off the top three.
This year’s first event ended in style with a third and final race in China on Thursday evening, as Jarno Opmeer raced home at the Shanghai International Circuit for his second win of the season. Marcel Kiefer and Daniel Bereznay finished P2 and P3 respectively to crown a successful first round.
This week’s results mean Jarno Opmeer leads the way in the driver standings, whilst Alfa Romeo top the team’s championship.
Attention now turns to the second event, on 4-5 November, as we get set to race for the first time at the Zandvoort Circuit and visit a fan favourite in Canada, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, before finishing at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, where this year’s revised F1 2020 schedule began with an entertaining double-header.
The live show was streamed online via F1’s official channels on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya, as well as broadcast by international television partners such as ESPN (US), Sky (UK) and Ziggo (Netherlands).
Following a huge year for F1 Esports, which saw over 30 million people tune in to the Virtual Grand Prix Series, more people than ever want to get involved. The first qualifying event for the 2021 F1 Esports Series
is now open until the end of October on F1 2020, the newly-released official videogame developed by Codemasters. For more information visit www.f1esports.com.
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives & Esports at Formula 1 said:
“We’re thrilled to see the Pro Series back underway and to do it safely and remotely as the world continues to navigate the global pandemic. The first event has shown exhilarating racing with three fantastic races giving us five different podium finishers. We’re definitely in for a thrilling season with it all to play for as the F1 teams battle it out for our huge $750,000 prize pot. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the championship has in store for us!”
Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters said:
“The F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco is back with the bang. We have our most competitive line-up to date, and the drivers didn’t disappoint for the opening series of races. Time will tell if a new rival will emerge to break the dominance we’ve seen from the likes of David Tonizza, Frede Rasmussen & Daniel Bereznay last year, or if Brendon Leigh can roar back and reclaim his crown. We’re off to an incredible start, and we can’t wait for the next round of races.”
John Clarke, CEO at Gfinity said:
“What a start to our biggest season so far, we’ve got a great new game, amazing drivers, thrilling racing, all delivered live and remotely. F1 is once again leading the way in delivering great entertainment for fans from around the world who love gaming and motorsport. Everyone involved has risen to the challenge of having the drivers spread across the globe. Get ready for the best season of racing yet.
For more information on the F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco visit www.f1esports.com.
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