The Rise of F1 Esports

2020 has been a remarkable year for the world of Esports. With the Covid-19 pandemic putting a stop to a significant number of sporting events it has left a void in the heart of sporting fans worldwide.

Step forward Esports. The competitive gaming and Esports sector saw a huge increase in viewership figures as fans of traditional sports like Football, Basketball, and Formula 1 turned to esports.

In 2014, Amazon purchased the well known streaming service Twitch for $970 million. Since then, Esports fan numbers have rocketed from 250 million to 495 million in 2020.

F1 Virtual GP’s

On friday 13th March 2020, it was confirmed that the Australian Grand Prix (GP) would be cancelled with future races in the calendar looking like they would follow suit. This left the organisers to create a virtual GP where f1, f2 and f3 stars would compete with celebrities on the official F1 2019 game. The races were broadcasted across their Youtube channel, Twitch and even shown on Sky Sports and racked up 30 million viewers.

This exposure to online races led audiences to discover more of the online racing events the F1 group held.

F1 Esports

F1 Esports is an online racing series hosted by F1, and includes a pro-draft to give an opportunity to be picked to anyone who is fast enough to qualify for the event. Last year over 237,000 people attempted to qualify for the 2020 Esport championship, this is over double from the previous year.

With a $750,000 prize pool, this Esports series is highly competitive and for a select few, it is their job to compete in the series. Like many worldwide sports, elite athletes are paid to live and breathe the sport.

Norris Launches Esports Team

Lando Norris, a current F1 driver for Mclaren has recently started his own esports team called Quadrant following a rise of Twitch followers to over 600,000 during the first lockdown of 2020. Norris took part in a series called “Not The GP” hosted by Veloce Esports as well as a few F1 Virtual GP’s. Norris becomes the second F1 driver to enter the esports space after French driver Romain Grosjean launched R8G eSports, a sim racing team competing across a range of platforms.