Ferrari has joined the official Formula 1 Esports series for the first time to ensure all ten F1 teams will be on the grid this season.
The third season of the Formula 1 New Balance Esports Series takes place over 12 races during four live events from September to December this year, with a two-day Pro Draft in July, where each team must select at least one driver.
The series will use F1 2019 by Codemasters – the official F1 game – and this year the prize fund has been more than doubled from $200,000 to $500,000. Last year, nine of the 10 teams were involved with official esports teams, with Ferrari not participating, but the Scuderia will enter this year’s Pro Series.
“It’s incredibly exciting to welcome all 10 teams to take part in the 2019 F1 New Balance Esports Series for the first time,” F1’s Head of Growth and Esports Julian Tan said. “Last year saw amazing growth for the series, and with the commitment of Ferrari completing the virtual grid, we continue to elevate the series to greater heights as we further align our virtual and real world sports, creating one of the world’s most innovative esports offerings whether in motorsports or beyond.
“As the 10 teams all vie for a cut of the $500,000 prize fund, this is going to be the biggest season to date.”
With more than 100,000 participants in qualifying already, Tan says Ferrari’s entry shows how seriously all the teams are taking the opportunity to try and expand F1’s reach to a new fanbase.
“It’s a momentous milestone for the program. It’s really exciting to see that all of F1’s teams have bought into the vision, that they see the huge potential of esports within Formula 1 and that they recognize the importance of the program as part of our wider objective of reaching out to a new audience.
“It’s one of the first projects outside of the racing that has the participation of all 10 F1 teams and we’re really excited to have Ferrari on board and to complete the grid. We’re really looking forward to working with all of the teams to make this season a success.”