Formula 1 has launched its first ever regional championship for the F1 Esports Series, starting their search for the first Chinese Esports star.
The F1 Esports Series begins its third season with the Pro Draft completed, finalising the line-up for the ten official Formula 1 teams. Scuderia Ferrari held the first overall pick in the Draft.
Whilst the Esports series has seen multiple contestants compete from various countries around the world, no driver from China has taken part in the live shows or made it into the Pro Drafts for the last two years.
China is home to over 1.3 billion people in the world and has a strong interest within the Esports industry, having collected a huge pool of revenue from Esports competitions and streams, estimating a worth around $210 million in 2018 according to Newzoo.
F1 hopes to increase their Esports competition within the country by hosting the first ever regional championship for the series, starting on 4th August in Shanghai. The winner and runner-up of the competition will qualify for the 2020 F1 Esports Pro Draft and a chance to compete in the world championship.
“We are thrilled to be launching the F1 Esports Series China Championships, our first ever regional qualification championship, only two years after our entry into the burgeoning world of Esports,” said Julian Tan, head of Growth and Esports.
“China is in incredibly important market for Formula 1 and we believe that there is a massive potential to grow the passion for Motorsport and cultivate the love for F1 as a sport in this region through F1 Esports, particularly amongst our next generation of fans.
“We want to engage with them and in new and innovative ways and Esports is a powerful to do this. We cannot wait to meet our first ever Chinese F1 Esports qualifiers and welcome them into the 2020 Pro Draft.”
Fans will be able to attend qualification event at CapitalMall LuOne in Shanghai from 29th July to 3rd August. The ceremony to start the China championship will start on the 4th August at the same location.
F1 Esports will be partnered with Juss Intellisports for the competition, aiming to increase the fan base within China and to introduce the new wave of Esports talent within the Asian region.
“We are extremely proud to partner with Formula 1 to take its Esports Series to China,” commented Olivia Xue, General Manager of Juss Intellisports.
“For the first time in history, racing fans and enthusiasts in China will have the opportunity to take part in this prestigious sport. We will witness records to be made and broken and we wish all aspirants good luck. China is the first country or region to participate in F1 Esports Series globally and we are fully confident that the tournament will be successful this year.”
Formula 1 regularly comes to China with the Chinese Grand Prix held at the beginning of the season at the Shanghai International Circuit. This year’s edition hosted F1’s 1000th Championship event, with Lewis Hamilton taking home the win that weekend.
A Chinese driver has never made it into F1, with Renault Academy and FIA Formula 2 driver Guanyu Zhou being the closest to reach the pinnacle of Motorsport.