With F1 Esports returning to our screens tomorrow, October 13, we thought it was a good time to preview this upcoming Pro Championship season.
Photo credit: Codemasters / EA
The F1 Esports Pro Series has existed since 2017, when Brendon Leigh first lifted the trophy in Abu Dhabi, but it was in 2018 that the series really took shape as the competition that so many know and love today. Over the three years of recognisable competition, we have witnessed a new champion each year. In 2018, it was Leigh who secured the title for the second time in a row, 2019 saw the rise of David Tonizza and in 2020 Jarno Opmeer proved himself to be the best in the world. The 2021 season, renamed to the ‘Pro Championship’, starts tomorrow, 13 October, but who will emerge on top this time?
What is the F1 Esports Pro Championship?
This is the highest level of competition on the official F1 games. With one series each year, the real world F1 teams sign drivers through a combination of trade deals, contract negotiations, and a Pro Draft system. Then, the drivers go at it in a 12 race calendar, all racing with cars of equal performance, but representing their respective teams in the process.
The races are 35% the distance of a real life F1 race, giving them a more urgent, sprint-like feel. Most of the rules are the same as the real deal – one pit stop per race (if it’s dry), qualifying split into three elimination stages, and points handed out to the top ten finishers in the race. The 12 races are split into four events, each of which runs over the course of two days. Here are the dates of each event:
Event One: 13-14 October
Event Two: 27-28 October
Event Three: 24-25 November
Event Four: 15-16 December
Going in to this season, there are a number of drivers believed to have the potential to win the driver’s championship. Chief among them is, of course, the reigning champion Jarno Opmeer, who has looked strong on the new F1 2021 game in other competitions. Opmeer made the switch from Alfa Romero Racing Orlen F1 Esports to Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports Team in early 2021, and he will be keen to bring his winning ways to his new team.
Among his greatest rivals will be the Red Bull pairing of Marcel Kiefer and Frede Rasmussen, who together won the constructor’s title in 2020. The latter in particular has been knocking on the door of the championship for the last two years, in each of which he finished second in the standings. The year before that, he finished third. There is little doubt that the silent Dane will be hungry to finally reach the top spot this year.
McLaren Shadow also have a dynamic lineup in the form of Bardia Boroumand, Daniel Bereznay and Josh Idowu. If each team were required to field three drivers, McLaren would likely come out on top. As things stand, there will be a good deal of inter-team competition over who gets the seats come race day. Haas and Alpine, which used to be known as Renault, are two teams which have gone through significant management changes in the off-season after disappointing 2020 campaigns, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their progress as well.
Of course, Brendon Leigh, to this date the most successful driver in F1 Esports history, cannot be discounted either. His time at Mercedes has come to an end, but will the switch to FDA Esports Team bring him back the success he has been missing since 2018? If you want to find out the answers to this question and many more, you can catch all the action live on the Formula 1 YouTube and Twitch channels.
Who do you think will come out on top in the 2021 F1 Esports Pro Championship? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!