RACE DEBRIEF

    Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports driver Brendon Leigh tops the leader board, winning two out of three races at the first event of the F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series, Toro Rosso Esports Team’s Frederik Rasmussen is in second place, but with Leigh’s team-mate Daniel Bereznay in third place, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports sits firmly at the top of the constructor standings.

    This first Pro Series live event was held at London’s Gfinity Esports Arena and streamed live via Facebook. Across social media the event has reached 2 million people and generated 1.2 million views to date. It was also broadcast globally on selected TV networks – bringing the excitement and exhilaration of Formula 1 to a new generation of fans across the globe

    Dominating in both the real-world and virtual world of Formula 1®, Mercedes and its drivers have had a strong start to the Series. Mirroring the drama of the 2018 Formula One World Championship, in which Lewis Hamilton is approaching his fifth championship, reigning F1 Esports champion Leigh is now targeting a second title in the Pro Series.

    The first race of the Pro Series saw the drivers take on the Australian Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne. In full control from beginning to end, Leigh started from pole position to take his first win. Then came Tino Naukkarinen of Williams Esports, followed by Red Bull Racing Esports Team’s Joni Tormala in third.

    The second Grand Prix was at the Shanghai International Circuit in China. A dramatic race unfolded that saw Leigh work his way up the field from fifth, to secure his second win. Second place went to Toro Rosso Esports Team’s Frederik Rasmussen, with Daniel Bereznay of Mercedes in third.

    The infamous street circuit of Baku was the stage for the final race, and it turned out to be a tense battle. Bereznay led for much of the race, only to be overtaken in a nerve-wracking few corners by both Rasmussen and teammate Leigh. The race reached a dramatic end on the final lap with Leigh overtaking Rasmussen, only for the Danish driver to steal the win from Leigh on the finish line. Bereznay crossed the line in third.

    DRIVER STANDINGS (TOP 5)

    1. Brendon Leigh Mercedes AMG-Petronas Esports 68
    2. Daniel Bereznay Mercedes AMG-Petronas Esports 41
    3. Frederik Rasmussen Toro Rosso Esports 39
    4. Bono Huis McLaren Shadow 19
    5. Tino Naukkarinen Williams Esports 18

    TEAM STANDINGS (TOP 5)

    1. Mercedes AMG-Petronas Esports 109
    2. Toro Rosso Esports 51
    3. Red Bull Racing Esports 32
    4. Hype Energy eForce India 27
    5. McLaren Shadow 24

    Updated results to ‘Race 2: Shanghai City Circuit’, following further review by the adjudication team to reflect Frederik Rasmussen’s penalty being overturned and the incorrect timing data adjusted accordingly.

    The F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series has brought together the most talented motorsport gamers in the world for the second year in a row. This year, the drivers had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race with the backing of some of the most prestigious names in motor racing following an intensive selection process.

    The Pro Series comprises of three live events held at London’s Gfinity Esports Arena, with drivers competing for the coveted prize fund of $200,000 – allocated to the teams based on their positions in the team standings. The second event will take place on October 31st followed by the Grand Final across November 16th and 17th.

    The Pro Series is the exciting finale of the award-winning F1 New Balance Esports Series, which saw 66,000 players compete over four online qualifying rounds earlier in the year to secure a coveted place in the inaugural F1 Esports Pro Draft in July. Completing 1.1 million laps in F1 2017, the official game of the FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™ on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X and PC. The Pro Series was the first time that the competing drivers raced on F1 2018, which was released on 24th August 2018.

    Julian Tan, Head of Growth & F1 Esports at Formula 1 said: “The Pro Series is the opportunity for our seriously skilled drivers to show just how capable they are, and the performances we saw at the first live event did not disappoint. With months of hard work under their belts in the lead-up to the competition, there is everything to play for. With fans watching across the world, the Pro Series is sure to keep audiences at the edge of their seat as we look forward to the next live event at the end of the month and of course the Grand Final in November.”

    Paul Jeal, F1 Franchise Director at Codemasters said: “As we’ve seen consistently with our drivers, the standard of racing was nothing short of breath-taking. The new manually operated ERS in F1 2018 perfectly added drama and excitement to the wheel to wheel racing, and it was great to see our drivers working as hard on their wheels as their real life counterparts. The sense of competition and camaraderie between all the drivers is now at an all-time high, and their performances have gone up another level since the official F1 Teams joined the Series, with many of the drivers having physically transformed themselves. Now the first results are in, the next couple of weeks will be crucial to get as much practice in as possible ahead of the second event on October 31st. It’s a 10 race championship with a double point’s final, so there is still plenty to play for.”

    Mark Brittain, Chief Commercial Officer at Gfinity said: “A worldwide audience tuned into the F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series and witnessed an amazing race. The skills of the F1 Esports teams generated an electric atmosphere in the Gfinity Arena that was felt across the globe. The bar has been raised for the next live event and the final. We are witnessing the convergence of the real and digital worlds. And racing fans are loving it.”

    The global Esports phenomenon continues to go from strength to strength with backing from some of the most exciting brands on the planet. The lifestyle brand New Balance was recently named the title sponsor of the F1 New Balance Esports Series and kitted the drivers out with the latest footwear for the Pro Series, while DHL and Fanatec also continue to sponsor the competition.

    The F1 New Balance Esports Series is operated in partnership with Codemasters, the developer and publisher of the official Formula 1 video game franchise and Gfinity, one of the world’s leading esports companies.

    For more information on the F1 New Balance Esports Series visit www.f1esports.com or follow all the action on F1’s official Facebook page.

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