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The Formula 1 Pro Series is back in 2019 with a bang. The F1 New Balance Esports Series is set to begin the qualifying phase in the coming months, and it’s bigger than ever.
During this phase, thousands of avid gamers all over the globe will be doing their best to compete for a place in the Pro Draft. The draft will give them the chance to be signed by one of the official Formula 1 esports teams and then compete in the New Balance series.
Online qualifying stage
Unlike with last year, this year’s qualifying stage will consist of just three online events to put players through their paces. What’s different is that, while there are fewer events overall, each event will be open for two weeks, giving racers more opportunity to qualify.
Qualification is open to anyone who has a copy of F1 2018, and there are no limitations to what platform is used. Players on PC, PS4, and Xbox One are eligible for entry and the first event starts today, April 8.
The qualifying will be hosted at the locations of real-life races; this first event will take place at Shanghai International Circuit. The second will be hosted at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and then finally a Spanish Grand Prix event.
Only the top six gamers from each event will progress to an online “race-off” in May. The total will be 18 players per platform.
The Pro Draft
From May onwards, the top 10 victorious drivers from each of the individual three races will go on to the Pro Draft segment of the series. This stage means a full batch of 30 drivers in total will be competing.
The first day of the draft sees the gamers pitted against each other in a series of knockout races, with only the fastest drivers progressing to the next stage on day two, the Live Draft Show.
Nine official Formula 1 esports teams will be on hand to select at least a single driver from the group that made it this far. They will also have the opportunity to snap up any other drivers who have either been released or they want specifically. Once this has been completed, the Pro Series stage can commence.
Time for the Pro Series
As the number of initial qualifying events has been reduced this year from four to three, to compensate the number of live shows has increased. This season there will be four live events in the Pro Series where the final drivers will be able to showcase their talents in front of a live audience in a packed studio.
The finals will take place from September to December. Prizes for the winners are also better this year, with the prize pot being a whopping half a million dollars. Formula 1 not only is one of the most expensive sports in the world, but it’s clear it’s trying to dominate esports too. Esports has come on leaps and bounds since last year, and Formula 1 is rising to the occasion and showing just what it has in store.