The F1 Esports China Championship is back! The first and only region-specific chapter of the F1 Esports Series has returned for an enthralling third season, blooming into life with an extravagant event at the Shanghai Automobile Exhibition Center, Jiading District, Shanghai.

    The event brought together all 10 teams in competition in the 2021 Pro League, getting the competitors up to speed for the 2021 season. With signings, live performances, presentations and more, the two-day event showcased the very best digital racing talent, and led straight into the first two rounds of competition on May 2: Shanghai and Bahrain.

    READ MORE: New tracks, new modes and release date – Codemasters announce key details for F1 2021

    Classic cars adorned the venue for the F1 Esports China Championship

    Round 1

    Familiar faces were in fine form on Sunday, with 2019 champion Tang Tianyu once again coming out on top, winning not only the opening round of the season, but a highly-coveted MVP award too. Reigning champion Yuan Yifan took second, showing that the two existing champions have lost none of their speed, and continue to set the standard in the championship.

    Tang’s team, Boosters’ Triumph, also scooped the top team trophy in the first round, leading the championship after the first two races. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for the other nine teams to catch up.

    READ MORE: Formula 1 announce female-only qualification route for F1 Esports Series Pro Championship

    2021 Esports China Championship

    Round Date Circuits
    1 May 2 China and Bahrain
    2 May 16 Spain and Monaco
    3 May 30 Azerbaijan and Canada
    4 June 13 France and Austria
    5 June 27 Great Britain and Hungary
    6 July 11 Belgium and Netherlands
    7 August 22 Italy and Russia
    8 September 5 Singapore and Japan
    9 September 19 USA and Mexico City
    10 October 3 Sao Paulo and Australia
    11 October 17 Emilia Romagna and Portugal
    12 November 21 Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi

    In addition to the 24-race calendar (reflecting the 2021 F1 calendar plus China, and with the original Canadian Grand Prix race included) a six-week transfer window will be available to teams halfway through the season.

    Beginning on July 12 and ending on August 21, the window will allow teams to update their rosters as they focus on attacking the second half of the season, building towards the live final in November.

    READ MORE: Grosjean’s R8G Esports team to manage Haas F1 Esports team for 2021

    The calm before the storm at Shanghai Automobile Exhibition Center

    Pro-Am format

    The 2021 season is split into both Amateur and Pro classifications. The Amateur events will consist of four regional events in the North, East, South and West of China, with qualifying and regional finals for each geolocation. After that, the very best of the best will battle it out at the Amateur Grand Final, which will run alongside the Pro League Grand Final.

    The route to the Pro Final is slightly different, with 10 teams fighting over the above 12 rounds, consisting of two races each. All 12 rounds will be broadcast on TV, with the Pro League Grand Final providing the final and most lucrative platform to showcase driving talent.

    READ MORE: Haas crowned 2021 Virtual Grand Prix champions as Russell wins sixth straight race

    The Top 3 with their trophies at the season opening event

    Pro exhibition

    It’s not only the pride of China on the line. The very best racers in the Pro League Championship will progress to the F1 Esports Series Pro Exhibition in 2022, where they will be available for selection by the 10 official F1 Esports teams.

    In both 2020 and 2021, this was the fate of both Tang Tianyu and Yuan Yifan, who were the top two drivers in both previous year’s competitions. Both will feature in this year’s F1 Esports Series Pro Exhibition, where once again they’ll be available for selection by the 10 official teams. Tune in on May 27 to see how they fare.

    Visit the official F1 Esports site for more information.