Formula 1® enters esports with the launch of the Formula 1® Esports Series

London, UK – Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, today announced their entry into the esports arena with the launch of the Formula 1® Esports Series. The competition, starting in September 2017, will see fans and gamers from all over the world battle it out to uncover the best virtual F1 driver and be crowned the Formula 1 Esports Series World Champion.

The Formula 1 Esports Series is a partnership between Formula 1, the world’s premier motor sport; Codemasters, the leading racing game developer and publisher; and Gfinity, the global leader in esports events and competitions.

The 2017 F1 Esport Series will be the first year of an annual competition, highlighting the sport’s long-term investment in esports and gaming as well as its continued ambition to build a greater connection with wider audiences, especially younger fans.

The launch of the competition coincides with the release of the official F1™ 2017 game allowing gamers to get closer to Formula 1 than ever before. Releasing worldwide on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC (DVD and via Steam) on August 25th, F1 2017 is the most feature rich game in the franchise’s history and the new F1 Esport Series will be open to players on all three platforms.

Competitors will race through three different stages. Qualification events will take place throughout September to determine the quickest 40 drivers: these will progress to the live semifinal events, to be hosted at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10th and 11th. The top 20 will progress to the Finals, which will take place at the Yas Marina as part of the 2017 FORMULA 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 24th and 25th November. At the end of a three-race event, the first Formula 1 Esports World Champion will be crowned on the same weekend as the final 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Alongside the pride and prestige of being the first ever champion, the winner will also be the Formula 1 Esports Champion Expert for 2018 and will automatically qualify for the semifinals of next year’s Formula 1

Esports Series. The first winner will also be offered the opportunity to live the full experience of a Formula 1 race by attending one of the 2018 Grand Prix, as well as becoming a character in the F1™ 2018 game: a timeless reminder of his or her’s accomplishment.

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 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.”

Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters said:
“Esports is one of the fastest growing sectors of gaming already attracting audiences in the tens of millions. We are delighted to be announcing this incredible racing series with Formula 1 for our upcoming F1 2017 game. The highly competitive nature and high-speed spectacle of the sport combined with the authenticity of our game will provide a thrilling experience for players and viewers across the world. We look forward to engaging more deeply with our loyal and passionate community, and to bring new fans to both our game and the sport itself.”

Neville Upton, CEO, Gfinity said:
“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. 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.”

All the details about the Formula 1 Esport Series and how to compete are available at F1Esports.com.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Norman Howell, Director of Global Communications, Formula 1 E: nhowell@f1.com

Formula 1 Press Office E: f1media@f1.com

Edelman Press Office
E: Formula1@edelman.com

About Formula 1®
Formula 1® racing began in 1950 and is the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition, as well as the world’s most popular annual sporting series. In 2016 it was watched by 400 million unique television viewers from over 200 territories. The 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship™ runs from March to November and spans 20 races in 20 countries across five continents. Formula One World Championship Limited is part of Formula 1, and holds the exclusive commercial rights to the FIA Formula One World Championship™.

Formula 1 is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ: LSXMA, LSXMB, LSXMK, BATRA, BATRK, FWONA, FWONK) attributed to the Formula One Group tracking stock.

The F1 FORMULA 1 logo, FORMULA 1, F1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and
related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula 1 company. All rights reserved.

About Codemasters
Codemasters, the award winning videogame developer and publisher, has a 30 year heritage. With titles distributed globally, Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of driving and racing entertainment games including DiRT, GRID and the official BAFTA award-winning FORMULA 1™ series of videogames. The company is fully controlled by Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd. (RBEL). For more information on Codemasters’ product portfolio, please visit www.Codemasters.com. Join in the conversation with @Codemasters on Twitter or Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Codemasters.

About Gfinity
Founded in 2012, Gfinity has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading esports companies. The London-based business enjoys strong relationships with game publishers, players and the wider esports community and has already built a solid reputation for delivering high quality competitions, both on-line at www.gfinityesports.com and off-line, in addition to producing industry leading esports broadcasts.

The Gfinity Esports Arena at Fulham Broadway, London is the home of UK esports showcasing regular tournaments across the full range of competitive games. Beyond its own tournaments Gfinity provides a full turnkey solution for any brand wanting to create their own esports tournaments and has staged premium esports events around the globe for leading publishers and brands including Microsoft, Activision, EA, Xbox, Gillette and HP.

About esports
Esports (electronic sports) is watching or playing competitive video gaming. Leading titles include League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Defence of the Ancients 2 (DoTA 2), Call of Duty and Rocket League. The industry is growing rapidly, with new communities developing around more and more titles. The global esports market generated US$325 million of revenue in 2015 and is expected to make $463 million in 2016. The global esports audience in 2015 was 226 million people, 80% under the age of 35 and 70% male (source: Newzoo). Online streaming channels Twitch and YouTube command the biggest audiences, although esports events are also now being broadcast on conventional TV. The 2015 League of Legends Championships finals in Berlin were watched by 36 million people, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14 million viewers, while at DotA 2’s flagship annual championship ‘The International 2016’ competitors from around the world competed for a prize pot of over $20 million.