It appears 2017’s F1 esports championship was only a taster. Earlier today, Formula One announced the 2018 competition, and it promises to be an even bigger event than last year.
The action gets underway soon, with the first qualifier kicking off next week on April 13. The digital championship will utilize F1 2017, while all three platforms (PS4, XB1, and PC) will get their own respective leaderboards. Up first is a Mercedes at Shanghai:
The first event sees them take control of Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes in Shanghai hunting down a podium finish from sixth place with five laps remaining on a wet, but drying, track.
The top ten players from each will then face off against one another in a live-streamed final, where the top three (nine total) will earn their seat in the Pro Draft. After this first event, there will be three more qualifiers, plus a Wildcard. At the end of it all, 40 players will advance.
Pro Draft Puts Players On the Real Teams
The Pro Draft is exactly what it sounds like. The real-world F1 teams will get to select the drivers that will represent them in the esport championship. Well, most of the teams; going by the list in the official announcement, Ferrari will be sitting this one out.
The draft happens in July. Each of the nine teams taking part must pick at least one driver from the 40-strong lineup.
From there, the second half of the season starts. The esport drivers will face off in three separate races to determine both the 2018 F1 Esports Series Teams’ and Drivers’ World Championships. There’ll be plenty of prizes up for grabs too: F1 is promising “at least” $200,000 worth.
No word yet on what, if any, roles other esports teams will play. McLaren had its World’s Fastest Gamer initiative last year, for example. Even driver Fernando Alonso founded his own outfit — one which already counts ForzaRC Invitational winner Laige amongst its crew.
2018 is shaping up to be racing esports’ biggest year yet — stay tuned for more F1 esport news as it breaks!