Red Bull Racing Esports lead the way going into F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series Grand Final

Following another evening of elation and spectacle at the third live show of the 2019 F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series, Ferrari Driver Academy’s David Tonizza extended his lead in the drivers’ standings, with Red Bull Racing Esport’s Frederik Rasmussen taking second place and Renault Sport Team Vitality’s Jarno Opmeer completing the top three.

Red Bull are now top of the Teams’ Championship, ahead of FDA and Renault, going into the Grand Final taking place on Wednesday 4th December at the Gfinity Esports Arena in London, a couple of days after the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019.

Battling it out head to head on F1 2019, the official F1 videogame developed by Codemasters, all 10 official F1 Esports teams competed in three exhilarating races at this evening’s penultimate live show.

The first race of the night, and the seventh of the Pro Series, saw the drivers take on the classic fast and flowing Hockenheimring in Germany. Renault Sport Team Vitality’s Jarno Opmeer, 3rd in the drivers’ standings ahead of the evening, took pole position in qualifying to put pressure on championship leader David Tonizza of FDA and second-placed Frederik Rasmussen of Red Bull Racing Esport Team, who qualified 4th and 7th respectively. Opmeer started the race on medium tyres, while the majority of the top 10 chose softs, but the Dutchman almost immediately fell behind to Red Bull’s Joni Tormala before being put under pressure by Tonizza who started well to move up to 3rd.The pit stop phase switched Opmeer to the faster tyre compound and he reeled in Tormala, passing him for the lead before taking a relatively comfortable first win of the season. The Finn took second with Tonizza completing the podium places. The result meant that the Italian extended his lead at the top of the driver’s standings to 17 points ahead of Rasmussen, who could only manage 5th place in the race.

The second race of the evening was at arguably the most challenging circuit on the real F1 calendar, Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. This proved to be a dramatic race with plenty of action right from the start. Rasmussen passed Alfa Romeo F1 Esports’ Daniel Bereznay down the Kemmel straight to take the lead on the first lap and stayed ahead after pitting a lap earlier than the Hungarian. Bereznay continued to push hard for the lead throughout and, on the final lap with the assistance of DRS, finally took first place. Rasmussen tried everything to retake the position in a thrilling battle, but it was Bereznay who took the chequered flag for Alfa Romeo’s first victory of the season ahead of the Danish racer with Opmeer 3rd. Tonizza, who started the race from 5th, came home in 4th but special mention should go to Tormala. The Red Bull racer chose to pit early on lap 2 after starting 16th and beautifully carved his way through the field to finish 6th. The gap at the top of the drivers’ standings closed to 11 points and strong race finishes for both Red Bull drivers meant the team increased their lead at the top of the team championship to 22 points, with Renault leap-frogging FDA into 2nd place.

The final race was set at the Autodromo Nazionale of Monza circuit in Italy where the key to success is to drop the throttle and drive at maximum speed on the fastest track currently on the F1 calendar.  Bereznay started from pole, looking to make it back-to-back victories on the night, and the Hungarian duly delivered to win race nine after a fierce battle between Red Bull’s Nicolas Longuet, on his first ever drive for the team, and Tonizza who came home 2nd and 3rd respectively. The action was intense from lights-to-flag, as it had been all night, and sets up an exciting final three races of the 2019 series. The gap at the top of the drivers’ standings is now 26 points.

The drivers and teams march on with all things to play for ahead of the Grand Final to win the ultimate prize fund of half of million dollars and the coveted Driver’s and Teams’ Championship trophies. Red Bull Racing Esports Team will look to defend their position at the top of the team standings in the face of fierce competition.

Following this evening’s show, the overall standings are as follows:

The live show was streamed online via Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya, as well as broadcast on global television by broadcast partners such as Sky (UK), Ziggo (Netherlands), MTV (Finland) and Fox (Australia).

With a significant increase in interest in the F1 New Balance Esports Series, and for those who missed out this year, the final qualifying round for the 2020 Series is now officially open and running until 17th November. Anyone with a copy of F1 2019 globally can take part – all they must do is load up the game and enter. For more information, please visit www.f1esports.com.

Julian Tan, Head of Growth & Esports at Formula 1 said: “The F1 teams and drivers continue to push the boundaries of racing on our official F1 videogame to put on other-worldly racing entertainment for the F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series, further solidifying our status as the pinnacle of virtual racing. As we head towards only our third ever Grand Final of the series, and first ever with all ten official F1 teams, we will all be eagerly anticipating which team and driver will emerge triumphant and win the lion’s share of the $500,000 prize fund.”

Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters, said: “After another highly competitive live event, it’s still all to play for as the F1 Esports Series goes down to the wire, with both the World Championship and Constructors’ titles still on the line, it’ll come down to who can hold their nerve on 4th December. It promises to be an exciting evening and one all F1 esports fans won’t want to miss.”

Graham Wallace, Chief Executive Officer Gfinity said: “Young consumers have decided that esports is integral to their lifestyle. They have said yes to interactive active entertainment and no to passive activity. This is why the F1 esports series is proving to be such a hit. Amazing racers, cloak and dagger team strategy and high-octane thrills and spills on the virtual track. This was all on show again this evening at the Gfinity Arena. Congratulations to Formula 1. It just gets better and better”

For more information on the 2019 F1 New Balance Esports Series visit www.f1esports.com.

ENDS

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About Formula 1®

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About esports

Esports (electronic sports) is watching or playing competitive video gaming. Leading titles include League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Defense 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$493 million of revenue in 2016 and is expected to make $1.5 billion by 2020. The global esports audience in 2017 was 191 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.