F1 surges into gaming with launch of 2017 eSports World Championship
Innovation
Posted By: Editor   |  21 Aug 2017   |  8:42 am GMT  |  40 comments

Formula 1 will host an eSports series in 2017 in a partnership with Codemasters, the developer of its official F1 game to find a virtual ‘World Champion’.

The inaugural F1 eSports Series will begin in September with an online qualification to decide the 40 quickest drivers with live semifinals hosted at the Gfinity Arena in West London on October 10 and 11. The top 20 semi-finalists will reach the finals.

Finals will be held at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November as a three-race gaming contest to decide the first-ever F1 eSports World Champion, on the same day as the actual F1 World Champion is crowned.

The winner will be given a wildcard entry into the 2018 semi-finals, officially named the ‘Formula 1 eSports champion expert’, given a ticket to a 2018 GP and also be depicted as a ‘character’ in the 2018 F1 game.

Registration opens soon on the F1 eSports website, with competitors on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC (Steam) welcome to enter. Qualification takes place on virtual renditions of Monza and Suzuka on September 4.

“This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans,” said F1 Managing Director of Commercial Operations, Sean Bratches.

“First, it’s a growing category with tremendous fan engagement that we’re entering in a big way; and we are proud to have Codemasters and Gfinity joining us on this ride.

“Of course as we do in Formula 1, we’ll continue to evolve and innovate in the way we run this virtual counterpart to the F1 Championship to ensure we provide the most exciting and enjoyable experience we can for our fans.”

London-based company Gfinity hosts eSports events in various genres of gaming around the world and this F1 initiative coincides with Codemasters’ F1 2017 game launch on August 25.

“eSports is one of the fastest growing sectors of gaming already attracting audiences in the tens of millions,” added Codemasters CEO Frank Saigner.

“We are delighted to be announcing this incredible racing series with Formula 1 for our upcoming F1 2017 game.

“The highly competitive nature and high-speed spectacle of the sport combined with the authenticity of our game will provide a thrilling experience for players and viewers across the world.

“We look forward to engaging more deeply with our loyal and passionate community, and to bring new fans to both our game and the sport itself.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren F1<br /> 28.07.2017. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Practice Day.<br /> - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“Formula 1 entering esports is a ringing endorsement for what spectacular entertainment esports provides and how vital it is to cutting-edge organisations that want to push the boundaries of entertainment and fan experience,” said Gfinity CEO Neville Upton.

“Like Formula 1, Gfinity has the experience, skill and infrastructure to put on world-class events and we look forward to delivering fans the Formula 1 esports Series with excellence.”

F1’s foray into eSports has gained serious momentum this year with McLaren also hosting its ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ competition which involves various sim-racing platforms.

McLaren’s prize also involves a factory role in working with the current F1 drivers on its simulator rig.

The F1 eSports website: f1esports.com.

Will you attempt to qualify for the Formula 1 eSports World Championship? Have your say in the comment section below.

 

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40 comments

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1

Hmm, sorry but for me the Codemasters games are just too basic to get excited about. It's a shame as Codemasters were a cracking developer 10 years ago, really working with the gaming community to improve their titles, listening to an answering feedback. Then they got the F1 licence and everyone was excited but really it has gone the way of the FIFA franchise.

If their game engine was any good, and if they had proper ethics, they would release fewer "new" titles and release seasons as DLC. New titles should only be where there is a significant overhaul of the main game.

F1 games have fallen a long, long way from the Geoff Crammond games, which was one of the early titles to actually have online leagues before everything got called "e-sports".

2

I've heard the F1 license is very expensive, so they have to release every year. Last year was the first year that codemasters have actually made a profit in a very long time. At least that's what their CEO has said.

I'm actually looking forward to this year's release, mainly due to the historic cars which do sound amazing in the game, as they do in real life. Plus people have said that the force feedback, suspension and tyre model has been massively improved.

Besides, if codemasters don't give us the option to remove the "halo" in next year's release, this year's f1 game will be my last. Unless of course they add more classic cars and perhaps classic circuits in F1 2018.

3

What don't people get about the purpose of Codemasters F1 games ? They are not not designed to be like a real simulator they are designed to be purely arcade games where people can have fun . I have seen some play footage and it looks a step forward from F1 2016-particularly in terms of the slipstream effect.

4

That purpose does not excuse them from being mediocre games. Too many bugs, no post release support, they simply aren't good enough to class themselves as E-Sports. With a trip to Abu Dhabi on the line they are going to get the real racing crowd, who are going to tear the game to shreds in search of tenths. It wouldn't surprise me if the top 40 all post 'impossible' lap times when they start finding bugs and exploits to go beyond what should be possible.
.
Whether Codemasters have the know how to keep on top of it or if they get turned into a laughing stock remains to be seen. It would be a neat reflection of real F1 to see the competitors having a better grasp of the rules than those writing them.

5

@Stephen Taylor; I disagree that they're designed to be arcade. In terms of simulating the way the races unfold and have to be driven there is nothing quite like it out there that comes even close.

Indeed the tyre model has so far been rather simplified and perhaps too forgiving, and the tracks have been lacking a bit of detail in terms of the topography, but that improves every year. And in my opinion F1 2016 was already quite close to sim and a massive challenge with all assists turned off and AI at the highest difficulty.

6

Nothing to do with their ethics. They have to do what their licence obligates them to do, and that's to release a game every year -- hence the particularly bad F1 2014 iteration, and the threadbare new-gen 2015 version.

7

2014 and 2015 were terrible editions you say?

So it seems like their ability to simulate the real thing accurately is on the money.

8

Thanks for this bit of info. I stand corrected.

9

CodeMasters listen to this guy.

10

I did get to see Geoff Crammond's Formula 1 racing games a long time ago on PC, and they looked really good. Hard. However I do think Codemasters F1 experience today is very very good. Perhaps F1 2017 should be the platform for continual, progressive and significant improvements over a good reasonable amount of time. However, they won't do that. It's not business, and they need an early turnover in the name of commercialism and consumerism. I play the current F1 2016 - there are bugs here and there - why not fix them. Nope, they won't. They fix them in the next release, 12 months later.

11

It's the lack of support that lost them my business. Annual cycles of buggy releases are just the way they roll, with the development team locked in an endless battle to get the next year's title out without anyone making more than a short-lived effort to fix the bugs in the old one.

I'm sure the terms of the license agreement (courtesy of Mr. E perhaps) are at least partly to blame, but the end result is pretty graphics and stirring sound that sadly all to often these days fails to deliver on the gameplay front. Buy it, play it, bin it seems to be the mantra for many and you can't blame Codemasters for taking the money if enough people keep throwing it at them.

12

Lack of support and fixing bugs lost me as a customer 5 years ago too, I haven't bought one since 2012. I've since moved to other sims and not looked back. I'd much rather spend my money with a developer that cares about their end product.

13

Have they announced what assists will be permitted? I am hoping none are permitted, with manual gears, etc, but curious as to what the rules will be..

14

So all assists are allowed. That is ridiculous.

15

This is clearly a quickly slapped together idea by someone, as you can see by the timing and competition being Sept - Nov instead if season long and in any way linked to actual GP live data.

16

No assists were permitted in career mode in the last two iterations, so I would be surprised if assists were permitted in e-sports.

17

Yet another thing F1 is a slow follower on. Formula E has this already, right?

Considering how late and slapped together this afterthought appears, I'm betting it is because F1 didn't see any potential in fan base growth or ROI.

They know the relatively small sales numbers for this game (compared to others) and realize that the competitors who win will be select few who are current fans of the game, or more likely guys who already are pros or part of an esports team.

18

I don't understand the codemasters games at all.

They claim to have the "best" physics, graphics, yadda yadda yadda.

Explain something to me. Why is it that codemasters releases a "new game" each year, with "new updated physics", whereas "arcade" games like Gran Turismo, Forza, or sims like pCARS only release every 3ish years. In the case of GT, it's like every 7 years.

So my question is this. How does codemasters manage to reinvent the wheel every 12 months with a team and budged half the size of those for an "arcade" racer. Why does it take Polyphony Digital 5+ years to write new coding for a new physics engine...yet codemasters seems to do this every 6-12 months. And they must be making pretty significant changes to have the audacity to name it is "a new game."

[mod] codemastera, and [mod] the FIA trying to jump on another bandwagon that less that 2 years ago, they basically spat on. Gamers have been looking for cooperation for 20+ years, and we've got nothing but ridicule. Now these jackasses want to cash in on what's trendy right now.

Seriously FIA, stick to what you do best, which is ruining motorsports. Leave the gaming alone, we're doing absolutely fine without FIA involvement.

19

FIA has nothing to do with this

It's F1 Group i.e. Liberty Media. - the commercial side of F1

20

An "official F1 World Champioship" without the FIA's involvement and consent? Electronic or not, it's impossible.

The FIA has exclusive rights to the phrase "World Championship," hence why TCRi had to go with International, instead of TCR World Championship.

And while this specific initiative might not be 100% by the FIA, the FIA are dipping their toes into gaming the same way Liberty, FOM, whatever name you want to give to the entity. All just to make a fast buck off of it, and after the gaming industry and gamers have fought against these organizations tooth and nail for nearly 20 years, fighting over licensing BS. You know how many cars and/or tracks were excluded from various games over the years because they didn't have FIA/FOM/EatMyShorts approval or licensing.

And now every motorsports website, whether is JAonF1, or daddy Motorsport.com has articles about the latest greatest new fangled world championship, which happens to be placed on what is possibly the current worst sim platform out right now, while titles that have spent the better part of the last 20 years working WITH the gaming community to find work arounds for the licensing BS (things like custom livery editors), titles like pCARS (project COMMUNITY ASSISTED RACING SIMULATOR) go completely unmentioned, while you guys give free advertising to a [mod] title like Codemasters F1 games.

And all of this after FOM, FIA, and the larger part of the Motorsport community has spent the last several years doing nothing but looking down on online gaming. Now that the $$$ is there, they're all over it. Not surprising in the least though.

21

If it's an official F1 competition, will the competitors be forced to use First Person / Cockpit view,l with a HALO in the visual, you know, to keep things authentic. Going to be hilarious. People will spend thousands of dollars on tv, monitors, etc, building their rig, and then they'll have a giant black thong in the middle of the screen.

It's like buying a 72" tv and then having an 18" black boarder around the picture lol.

22

I wish I was a psychologist so I could have some witty comment.
But I would rather save my shekels and buy a go-kart to experience some real 'G's.'
Perhaps gaming is a feeder league for the computer tech profession.

23

I race karts and SIM racers. You can't beat real Gs but some of the Sims out there (iracing, Pcars etc) are very close to the real thing and when your in a lobby with 20 other racers running within a second of each other a lap and the racing's close and clean you do get the same emotions and buzz (sometimes even the pink face and dehydration ha). Its in the thousands to run a season in karts and still pricey if your a casual test session man. Once you've got a console or p.c your looking at less than a 1er a year. On a cold winter night the Sims help quench the thirst. If you have an inner racing slag, like myself you should give a SIM a go.

24

If Liberty is chasing a younger fan then this is definitely the way to engage them. They need to forget about the few million(s) that codemasters are paying them and get a full live online platform built around this game. Physics, graphics are important but competition with other humans is what racing is all about. I love racing games but hate racing AI in some artificial championship. If the F1 game had a proper official online championship similar to how Iracing runs then I would be drawn in to have a go.

Please Liberty, at least remove the yearly release requirement and just create yearly DLC for cars that is ready at season start. Yes we would still have to pay each year for these updates so we can be a part of that year's championship but I haven't brought the game for 4 years so I believe they would make more money that way anyway.

Get the current F1 drivers fully integrated into the platform. With ghost car hot laps and video tutorials on car setup etc. Maybe each driver releases their 'virtual setup' for gamers to try. Maybe even the teams can be involved by creating their own stable of virtual drivers which they manage and promote within the virtual championship. I would suggest that a number of the worlds top racing gamers would jump at the chance to be associated with top F1 teams.

Question? Is the game going to one car model that just looks different for each team so in the virtual races we can see a haas or sauber on the front row. Might find people are more interested in watching the virtual races as they are less predicable. If the Mercs and ferraris are built to be quicker in an online format then most gamers will lose interest fast. Maybe the faster drivers get the ferraris and mercs in online sessions but the virtual cars must be identical .

I would love to see a virtual race weekend run in parallel to the real event. Practice/ qualifying/race. All hosted on servers around the world. Not at the same time obviously, as I do like to watch F1! Maybe all a day before the event so.

Lets just hope this step is just the first of many to drag F1 gaming into the 21st century!

Oh and I almost forgot the most important aspect ......VR (virtual reality)

Of all the game genres that will benefit from VR, racing sims have got to be one of the best. I have been racing with a VR headset and it is so easy to get absorbed in the race as it is all around you. Needless to say I will not be racing on a flat screen again. Granted the majority still game on flat screens & in particular the younger generation may not have the finances to get VR gear but Codemasters MUST include a VR option, if not with the initial release, as soon as possible after. Alot of the serious gamers will not bother without a VR option. While liberty is looking for global reach they will need to have buy in from these top gamers if they want their online competitions to have any respectability and they should because F1 is the pinnacle of racing and so it should be in the virtual world also.

25

In previous years the codemasters f1 games ran identical cars/setups regardless of the team you were driving with, for their online sprint races. It only seems fair they would do this for the comp. Great post by the way! Im with you there. The idea about the real drivers posting there setups and times would be awesome, especially if the game was of 'sim' quality. You could also split champ classes depending on your choice of driving aids so the newbs younger racers don't feel to daunted.

26

This is what I want in F1 Gaming. Put these suggestions into the Codemasters platform. This will bring more younger audiences into the F1 realm.

27

The Codemasters F1 games are not sims they are games. God i wish they WERE sims but they are not. They give you an F1 style experience but the physics are just not good enough.

Need a real sim to get this endorsement - Assetto Corsa, rFactor2 or iRacing.

28

i see what you mean but the game simulates f1 racing too, so it's technically correct to call it a sim..

29

Good to see them giving some attention to the game. It has it's flaws, but I think it's a good way to advertise F1 to a different audience. The F1 racing games are fairly niche - they have a small cross section of gamers and F1 fans to appeal to. But if they can accurately translate the speed and challenge of F1 into a world class racing game, it might find an audience in other motorsport and video game fans that might not know about F1 (particularly in the US).

I do enjoy the Codemasters F1 games , it's quite a different challenge to other arcade style racing games, and they certainly look impressive. As others have said, the yearly release cycle feels like a bit of a cash grab, but they're slowly improving them over the years.

30

It's called esports, no big s.

31

That's the iEffect for ya!

32

Looks like they did not understand the question put before them... yes I will put my skills to the test...

33

this has revealed that with a direct comparison of dimensions, such as wheel base, rear axel to diffuser, front axis to bulkhead, length of front wing, angle of rake, etc, of cars would give us a clearly appreciation of why certain cars perform differently at certain tracks.

34

As someone who has beat/out smarted the fastest racers on Gran Turismo. I will not be giving this Formula 1 eSports World Championship ago. For the reasons stated in the the very first post to this article.

The FIA/Liberty Media should do something with IRacer (or someone like that) for the serious hard core racers.

Remember. If you're not first. You're last!

35

Would be so much better with iRacing!

36

Would someone out there enlighten me! The thing is you see, I like the idea of this emalarky thing as I have a game I'm bored with on my smartphone. Now! What with all this cheating going on in all aspects of F1 I'm thinking, is it possible to incorporate said into this emalarky setup? If it is, I'm half way to Abu Dhabi! It'll be great. It can't fail. Let me explain. It consists of a spoon and fork, sounds odd doesn't it but wait! The fork doesn't have a handle as it has to sit upturned under my seat. The spoon though does have a handle but somehow I will need to fix it solidly to the front axle, as I will need to sit in the bowl. Now! If I remove the fork from underneath the spoon, I'm thinking my weight will be transferred to the front axle. Good eh! Just think! I'll be able to follow them very, very closely, just like them there red ones and irritate them into a mistake. Just think! In this very next race I'll be able to sit on the front axle and go through Blanchemont faster than anybody and get on the bus first! It'll be brill, Aboo Dabee here I come. I will need some means of putting the fork back though to cover the fact that I was cheating but maybe because if I use it to cheat to much I might pop my front tyres. Can somebody help me out? I don't know too much about electric...

37

I know its fashionable to bash codemasters, but their games are more realistic than they're given credit for, For example, many moons ago I had a PS3 with F1 2011 or 2012 and Logitech steering wheel, played it to death. My wife bought me a single seater track day thingy, anyway as I headed towards the first corner my brain correlated it with game and I tried to brake with my left foot, which in real life is the clutch, I can tell you that was brown pants moments. Once I started braking with the correct foot, it was easy. I was comfortably the fastest person out there, not cause I'm super talented, but because I was repeating what I'd spent hours doing in a game. And again many moons ago, they were promoting the British GP up in MK, and you could buy laps in a simulator, it was the same software McLaren use, with real time telemetry feeds and couple of engineers to guide you. Once I took my shoes off because it was so sensitive, I got the knack of it, and they asked if Id actually raced cars, because they could see from the telemetry how I was balancing the car up with the throttle and brake. Set the 5th fasted time out of over a 1000 people. Again not because I'm super talented, it was just what I had learnt in the game and could repeat it.

So think maybe if you think the game isn't that accurate, maybe you're not doing it wright 🙂

38

The winner will be given a wildcard entry into the 2018 semi-finals, officially named the ‘Formula 1 eSports champion expert’

That's clunky...what's wrong with just "eSports champion"?

39

" The winner will be given a wildcard entry into the 2018 semi-finals, officially named the ‘Formula 1 eSports champion expert’, given a ticket to a 2018 GP and also be depicted as a ‘character’ in the 2018 F1 game. "

What an absolutely terrible prize. What absurdity - you'd think the most obvious prize would be a test drive in something - not necessarily a formula one car - but a test or a race weekend in a GP3 for instance. Normally the prizes for these things is a real-world test, and you'd think it' dbe the most obvious way to link it to real life - that's the one thing that other popular esports like Cs:GO or Dota cannot do....
what a terribly missed opportunity.

its certainly not worth me practising hundreds of laps for, for such a lame prize.
sorry i know this comment comes across like a depressing pathetic rant, but, the prize.......Honestly!

40

I've heard the F1 license is very expensive, so they have to release every year. Last year was the first year that codemasters have actually made a profit in a very long time. At least that's what their CEO has said.

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