F1 creates official Esports Formula 1 World Champion title

2017 F1 season

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Formula One gamers will have a chance to be crowned the official Formula One Esports Series world champion in a new championship beginning next month.

The inaugural championhip will be decided on the same weekend as the finale of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina circuit.

The Formula 1 Esports Series World Championship has been announced to coincide with the launch of the latest edition of the official Formula One game, F1 2017 by Codemasters.

Qualifying events for the series will be held during September to select the 40 quickest drivers. Semi-finals will be held at the Gfinity Arena in London on October 10th and 11th, which will create a final field of 20 who will compete for the crown in a three-round final.

F1 commercial chief Sean Bratches said the innovation is “an amazing opportunity for our business strategically and in the way we engage fans.”

“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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 54 comments on “F1 creates official Esports Formula 1 World Champion title”

    1. Will their chairs require a halo?

      1. joe pineapples
        21st August 2017, 19:04

        Only the good boys and girls.

        1. There are no halos in GP4, which is the best Formula 1 game.
          Codemasters’ F1 games are a complete joke.

    2. So they will pay people to play their rubbish computer games? Oh dear!

      1. The Codemasters F1 games are the best racing games out there.

        1. As long as rear wings arent falling off when crashing and tyre contacts dont flip the cars or spin them out of control the game is not realistic….these aspects were in F1 games almost 2 decades ago, not to mention modular components which were able to fail trough the race. Codemasters really ignored those aspects in their games, so for me this is more of an arcade than a F1 simulation.

          1. @proteus

            As I understand it, the FIA does not allow Codemasters to incorporate such things into the game.

            Can someone back that up?

            1. @shimks, I would be surprised if that were the case – I know that it has been claimed that some other games, such as the Gran Turismo series, did face pressure to tone down crash damage, but that supposedly came from the car manufacturers themselves not wanting to see their cars being smashed to bits in game.

              It’s probably more likely that it is simply a simplification made by Codemasters themselves to the game – with any game, there is a question about what compromises you make in the overall design, and one of them is going to be how accurately you model damage.

              Even the games that tout themselves as hardcore simulators still have relatively limited damage models – they might have a rear wing come off, but quite often they simulate it as a single rigid body falling off rather than a more realistic model (so, for example, a small impact would probably just damage the lower part of an endplate, which might not necessarily result in the entire rear wing failing). I’ve yet to see a game that, for example, simulates a loss of hydraulic fluid or oil pressure, even though we’ve often seen cars in pretty much any motorsport series you can name retiring for those reasons.

            2. The sponsors / FOM don’t allow them to include heavy damage in the games as they don’t want their brand associated with crashed cars, or missing from the car at any team (e.g. their logo is only on the rear wing).

              The FIA don’t have any say over the commercial side of F1.

              Back in 80s / 90s F1 games used F1 licenses to help sell their games and FOM just sold to the highest bidder. If game manufacturer they couldn’t afford that they did a deals with the GPDA and all the individual teams. If that couldn’t hapeen they did it with one driver or race track e.g. Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Johnny Herbert(!), Monaco or Suzuka and basically replaced all the teams and drivers with ringers. Bizarrely Jacques Villeneuve didnt feature in a lot of fames as he wasn’t part of the GPDA but did put his name to Speed Challenge: Jacques Villeneuve’s Racing Vision.

              Nowadays FOM uses the offical F1 game to sell F1 and there can only be one game a year… As a result there is far less room for competition and innovation.

          2. as long as killing games use health meters, they’re not realistic.

            1. that said I guess I’m not very sure about a pretty arcade racing game being an E-sport either TBH. I guess it’s not Mario Kart arcade, at least.

        2. Codemasters games haven’t been anywhere near close to ‘the best’ since about 2000. They are arcade-games which aren’t taken seriously by anyone in eSports especially in the motorsport sense, this smacks of F1 and Codemasters jumping on a bandwagon instead of a serious venture.

          1. I was thinking the same. Was thinking, now this is a really good F1 news, with no usual downsides, but then I read they will be using Codemasters’ versions…
            That thing was never a sim. From the first version (2010), it was a horrible arcade. The shallowness of the menus and setups was one of the first things I noticed. The game also feels more like playing something in an arcade on the coin, instead of fully immersive PC experience. After playing Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix series for over a decade, I was so disappointed with Codemasters’ game.

        3. I owned and ran PrecisionRacingLeague.com for many years, and at one point, I believe we had 13 different F1 201x championships. I’ve owned all but one of the Codemasters F1 games. I am an avid sim racer, and have extensively played the likes of Assetto Corsa, rFactor, iRacing, Race 07, Project CARS, DiRT series, and much more. While I have loved Codemaster’s F1 series, and have had many great moments with it, most would not consider it the best racing game, or even close to it. First of all, it’s not a sim, while most of the others I mentioned are. Codemasters is a very arcadey game with few sim options, no laser scanned tracks, and a poor handling/physics/damage model. Furthermore, there are cheats available to download for these games, their “equal” car setting has never been equal, and their netcode is atrocious, so I don’t see how an esports league will have any integrity to it.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            21st August 2017, 15:38

            I can back that up, having raced in the league myself

            1. It’s funny who you meet here :)

        4. No NO no …codemasters are not the best sim software in the world

          1. Does it really matter what type of game they play? E-sports are to find the best players of a certain game irrelevant of whether it’s sim or arcade.

    3. Pure marketing for F1 and Codemasters. It would be taken serious if they used a real simulator base like iRacing or RFactor.

      1. Why would an official F1 tournament use anything other than the officially licensed F1 games? Plus why does it have to be taken seriously anyway, it’s video game tournament. Pretty sure they have Call of Duty tournaments and they don’t simulate real war.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          21st August 2017, 18:02

          @davef1 Those games don’t claim to be realistic and/or are not officially licensed by the military. Bad comparison.

      2. So you’re suggesting they use a game that doesn’t have a licence to have F1 cars rather than the official licenced F1 game? I agree it’d be better if they used a racing simulator rather than an arcade game but it would be bizarre for them to effectively say “Hi everyone. Don’t buy our licenced product! Buy R-Factor instead. It’s loads better!

        1. @petebaldwin, asides from that, rFactor itself hasn’t been supported by the developers who made it for probably the best part of a decade (they moved onto its successor years ago, which has had a more troubled development cycle and which they’ve now effectively sold off to a third party).

    4. I’d love to give this a go!

      Although, judging by the 2016 game I would need to find some serious pace! When I play on line the standard seems to be seriously high, in qualifying and the race, if they’re not nut jobs!

      Anyone know if there is much disadvantage in using a controller rather than a wheel and pedals? (scrambles for an excuse!)

      1. There is a huge advantage for those using wheels and pedals. You have much better fine control with the pedals and wheels as each control motion has a much larger range of movement. E.g. Turning left with a wheel is 90 degrees plus of rotation but with a controller it’s just a 10mm movement to the left.
        Regrettably using the wheels and pedals has made little difference to me as I still get stuffed by some seriously talented people on there. (This might be a good excuse to get the game on release day though ;)

      2. @twentyseven

        Anyone know if there is much disadvantage in using a controller rather than a wheel and pedals?

        That’s a huge disadvantage, like bringing a knife to a gun fight. You can get reasonably quick using a controller, but wheel and pedal users can get unreasonably quick if given enough time, because the nuanced input of a steering wheel tends to work very differently in a racing simulation, so that wheel users end up finding a grip limit that ridicules real-life conditions.

      3. Even the crappiest steering wheel will be immensely better than a gamepad that’s for sure!

    5. Another great initiative in the new F1 era.
      (even the naysayers will see the progress our sport is making)

    6. Michael Brown (@)
      21st August 2017, 13:16

      I don’t know about the racing scene (if there is one) in esports, but connecting with the people who play the F1 games is a good idea.

      Esports tend to revolve around games with a long lifespan and a lot of depth, like Counter Strike, Starcraft, and Rainbow Six Siege. If a racing game were to make it onto the esports scene it would probably be an rFactor game.

      1. iRacing, I guess? (which… I think actually seems to resemble rFactor? (have played neither, don’t really know))

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          21st August 2017, 18:12

          I completely forgot about iRacing but you’re right. I think iRacing has officially licensed NASCAR and/or IndyCar championships.

      2. Esports tend to revolve around games with a long lifespan and a lot of depth, like Counter Strike, Starcraft, and Rainbow Six Siege.

        The problem with this is that a simulation by definition needs to be at the cutting edge of available technology. You can’t exactly use an old copy of Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix.

        I’ve never really understood the widespread appeal of watching esports so there’s not much point giving my opinion on how to make it work, but if I was going to watch a racing series it would have to be a simulation. iRacing does have their world championships which I followed on and off for a while, and it can be pretty interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GgBH-Qc0lc

    7. Like Formula-e this isn’t gonna be perfect the first time around and will most likely take a few ‘seasons’ to get into it. But E-sports seriously can’t be ignored. You only need to look at some of the more recent e-sport events happening around the world and the prize pools to see how seriously e-sports are being taken; we’re talking £10m plus!!

      Eventually I wouldn’t be surprised to see teams have an e-sport division and something you’ll probably see RedBull jump to first if current trends are to go by.

      It’s not perfect, it’s not gonna please a lot of people but you’re gonna have to deal with this sort of thing becoming more common in the next few years.

      1. Yes, I’d agree with that. I saw some e-games on a local TV channel that has now shut down, but it was one of those military type games which was hard to understand. A car race is much easier to understand.
        I think they should run the e-game version of the race the week before the real one to generate interest.

    8. They should have at least chosen a decent game, a pure simulation game, I mean rFactor, codemaster games may be much better visually but are far less realistic when it comes to physics and other F1 aspects, I hope they will rectify the shot, even Grand Turismo can do a much better job.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        21st August 2017, 18:15

        @abdelilah That would be admitting that racing sims a few years old can do F1 better than the latest officially licensed F1 game. If there wasn’t an officially licensed F1 game then it would make sense to use a sim and sponsor a league within that game.

        1. @mbr-9 The open source community is the best example, I’ll drift away from the main subject but just to give an overview of the situation, big corporation tend to invest in open source software providing the source code and injecting money in the development project, in return they sell the final product (more precisely the support) and make profit from it, it is a win-win situation, F1 can do the same, take rFactor, invest in it and then “harvest” money from a well taught business model and thus providing a better overall end user experience.

    9. Will current F1 drivers be allowed to paricipate? Lance Stroll has mentioned that he enoys PlayStation4 racing..

      1. I can’t see why a current driver couldn’t participate, but why would they? It wouldn’t be so bad if a Marcus Ericsson or Pascal Werhlein regularly finished at the top of the field, but what if they didn’t? What if they or a Verstappen, Ricciardo, Bottas, etc, regularly failed to make the cut for the race? That would create the impression they weren’t very good as a real racing car driver.

        1. I guess then it’s an advantage they are using the Codemasters game, instead of a real sim – the drivers can always claim they are good at real/sim driving even if they can be beaten in an arcade @drycrust!

    10. What worries me that they’ve gone straight in with a grand finals in November.
      I get they want the finals to coincide with the final race of the season. But is that going to be the trend for every year? August release, October semis, November finals.
      If there’s a gap between November and August of nothing (because you have to wait for the next game to represent the next year), that’s a long silence. And you want that filled with competition and personalities to keep the scene alive.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        21st August 2017, 18:06

        @ninjabadger At the very least there should be a championship in the off-season to hold us over until the real F1 season begins in March.

    11. Games? What is this?

    12. Ok, humour me.

      I have a 49″ tv in the lounge, and a 42″ tv upstairs.
      I have nothing else. No consoles, no windows computers, no controllers.
      How much is it going to cost me to build a setup worth having?
      I’m guessing a console, wheel and pedals. Is a gaming chair essential?

      1. Console – £400
        Wheel and pedal – £400
        Chair (basic folding) – £150

        I race pad in a leauge, fine if you dont mind finishing a lap down in 9th

      2. I’d recommend a used Ivy Bridge i7 or something plus a GPU (with the mining bubble….1050Ti? not sure how the price of the RX470 is doing but you probably don’t want a new PSU, so 1050Ti it is) instead of a console.

        (haven’t done the maths of whether that’d be cheaper though)

        I’d expect more latency with a TV though :(

    13. Michael Brown (@)
      21st August 2017, 18:09

      If you want a top-of the line Fanatec wheel (F1 style) and seat I think it would cost about $1500 USD. You’d probably also want three monitors so you don’t need to press buttons to look around, because I don’t think VR is supported in Codemasters F1.

      PC racing sims like iRacing and rFactor do F1 better than Codemasters F1 does it.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        21st August 2017, 18:09

        Reply to JohnNik

    14. I haven’t played an F1 game since…. F1 ’96 on the original playstation, so I don’t have an opinion on the quality of the codemasters offerings compared to other simulation-y games out there, but in terms of marketing that has its finger on the pulse of the times, this can only be a good thing. Now imagine how fresh, interesting and innovative F1 in general could have been by now with someone else than el commandante Ecclestone at the helm the last decade.

    15. Well, first the halo, then table tennis fun zones, now this…

      …as an American, I apologize.

    16. The main thing that gives this some kind of credibility is the success of the GT Academy program by Nissan and Playstation…. and iRacing has a successful partnership with NASCAR that’s been going on for years now.
      As others have rightly pointed out, F1 by Codemasters can be great fun, but it is not a racing simulator.

      One of the secrets to lapping quickly in F1 is braking as late as possible… and in my limited experience playing simulators (mostly iRacing), a good set of pedals is considered by some to be the most important piece of your sim-racing setup.

    17. Gosh I do hope they’ve considered all of the health and safety aspects.

    18. This is good news. Sure the games aren’t perfect, but if it places pressure on them to improve, especially from a competitive perspective, it can only be a good thing.

    19. You guys know what wheel and pedals they use? Is a T500RS? G27? anyone?

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