The Formula One Esports Series is the most famous and successful Esports racing competition. Take a look at the steep road the franchise has taken.
Photo Credit: Twitter/McLaren Shadow
The F1 Esports Series entered the esports scene for the first time in 2017. Starting as an online competition, drivers fought to qualify for the grand final which was held offline in Abu Dhabi. Over the past three years since Brendon Leigh lifted that first trophy, the F1 Esports Series has made rapid developments. Take a journey through the timeline in our video above.
Having a big blue sky to explore
Julian Tan is Head of Digital Business Initiatives & Esports at F1. In our most recent Nitro Nights episode he talked to us about his work, how his team plans to proceed:
A lot of the work that we do in esports is very blue sky, very exploratory. Where we are as an industry within sim racing, we are still relatively niche and with a brand like Formula One everyone is sort of watching what we’re going to be doing next. So, in many ways, what we do in esports actually defines the way that sim racing will actually evolve as an industry. (…) We are really hopeful that we can continue to grow the space of esports for Formula One more widely. (…) There are some “north stars”, principles that are guiding us on our way. But we are not afraid of taking side-routes to make our goals.
While especially F1 had quite a boost in popularity and meaning during lockdown, Julian’s team also learned a lot from that time. F1 esports enthusiasts can probably expect to see much more of their favorite drivers in future competitions.
We have tested some of the technology that will be rolling out for the F1 Esports Series later on this year during the Virtual GP. Some other elements will be completely new. Also, we are trying to be as proactive as we can to identify potential loopholes. We will have some great racing and look forward to a great championship ahead.
Even fewer borders
Season four of the F1 Esports Series will start on October 13. What already has started in September is a brand-new competition for F1 Mobile, which will represent a seperate, unique esports sphere.
Tan is very excited about the new approach to F1 competition:
Mobile for us is a huge opportunity area to reach a much wider audience. The fact that all you need to do is download the game on your mobile phone, which is free, by the way… that helps us touch so many more people. Some of the feedback that we had was: ultimately, to be an elite racer you will need the equipment. There are still a few barriers concerning entry (to esports racing). So we thought: let’s try and explore the mobile route, because it’s free.
The idea of mobile games as a first touch with esports is becoming increasingly popular, especially inside esports racing. Gear Club is another game that tries to encourage people to participate in esports, leading ultimately to a qualification for the World’s Fastest Gamer event. By the end of the year, we will know how much these measures benefit the growth of the scene.
What are your thoughts about the upcoming F1 Esports Series and esports mobile games? Tell us on Twitter at @overtake_gg!