While the real-life Formula 1 season continues at pace, the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco will return this week with an enhanced offering.
Debuting on Wednesday September 14, a new three day per event format is set to be used, while there will also be more live shows than ever before – as drivers and teams go wheel-to-wheel for a massive $750,000 prize pot.
In 2022, four events will be held, all featuring three days of action – with qualifying and the race for each round taking place on standalone days. The new campaign kicks off at the Sakhir International Circuit on Wednesday, before trips to Imola and Silverstone on Thursday and Friday.
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Additions to this year’s F1 Esports calendar include Suzuka and the Yas Marina Circuit, with the Abu Dhabi venue playing host to the season finale – mirroring the F1 championship.
Each and every qualifying session will be shown live on the official F1 YouTube, Twitch and Huya channels, with the race to be broadcast on the same platforms, plus Facebook. All race day streams will also be broadcast by select television broadcasters, including Sky Sports F1, Viaplay and ESPN.
As usual, production will come live from the Gfinity Arena in London, but drivers will continue to race from team Esports facilities or factories, or their own homes, and will compete on the official F1 22 video game, developed by EA and Codemasters.
2022 F1 Esports calendar
|1||14 September||1||Sakhir, Bahrain|
|15 September||2||Imola, Italy|
|16 September||3||Silverstone, Great Britain|
|2||12 October||4||Red Bull Ring, Austria|
|13 October||5||Spa, Belgium|
|14 October||6||Zandvoort, Netherlands|
|3||2 November||7||Monza, Italy|
|3 November||8||Mexico City, Mexico|
|4 November||9||Austin, USA|
|4||14 December||10||Suzuka, Japan|
|15 December||11||Interlagos, Brazil|
|16 December||12||Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi|
Several high-profile driver moves have taken place since last year’s championship, with third-place finisher Lucas Blakeley swapping Aston Martin for McLaren Shadow, Manuel Biancolilla taking up a spot at Aston Martin as he returns after a year out, and Filip Presnajder moving from Alfa Romeo to Alpine.
Meanwhile, reigning back-to-back champion Jarno Opmeer sticks with Mercedes, Brendon Leigh stays at Ferrari alongside team mate Davide Tonizza, while Red Bull have retained all their drivers, including the effective duo of Marcel Kiefer and Frede Rasmussen.
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In terms of new talent, Alpine have signed Luke Smith – who finished second in the 2022 Pro Exhibition – with Aston Martin bringing in Pro Exhibition semi-finalist Josh Evans and Haas securing the services of 2022 Pro Exhibition champion Thomas Ronhaar.
In total, there have been nine driver moves across the grid, while seven new drivers have been scouted through the 2022 Pro Exhibition after qualifying via one of F1 Esports Series’ qualification routes, including the DHL Time Trial.
2022 F1 Esports grid
|Alfa Romeo ORLEN F1
|Alpine Esports Team||Luke Smith||British|
|Aston Martin Aramco
Cognizant Esports Team
|Scuderia Ferrari Velas
|Haas F1 Team Esports||Thomas Ronhaar||Dutch|
|Matthjs van Erven||Dutch|
|McLaren Shadow||Wilson Hughes||British|
|Red Bull Racing Esports||Marcel Kiefer||German|
|Williams Esports||Alvaro Carreton||Spanish|
|Shanaka Clay||Sri Lankan|
“We’re very excited about the new season of the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship and its growing success, and with so many promising big moves and intriguing driver shifts on the grid, we can’t wait to kick off the season and get racing,” said Brandon Snow, Managing Director, Commercial at Formula 1.
“As always, we want to thank our partners Aramco, DHL and Fanatec for their continued support which enables us to bring elite sim-racing to an increasing number of fans around the world.”
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Paul Jeal, F1 Senior Franchise Director at Codemasters, added: “The new era of F1 has delivered incredible drama, and it’s time for the best esports drivers to take their seats in a fresh format for a piece of the $750,000 prize pot.
“With up-and-coming talent facing off with established pros, this season could be the most unpredictable yet, and we can’t wait for lights out.”
John Clarke, CEO at Gfinity, added: “The F1 Esports Pro Championship continues to go from strength to strength. Last year’s viewing numbers more than doubled, which resulted in a record 1.3 million drivers taking part in the battle for a place on one of the F1 teams’ rosters.
“That number has now been whittled down to the top 30 drivers who are primed
to come together and test their skills on twelve iconic Formula 1 circuits. This year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet and we can’t wait to bring the racing live to the world from the home of F1 Esports, the Gfinity Arena.”