Formula One has announced the return of the Virtual Grand Prix series after 2020 F1 Esports broke viewing records.
2020 F1 Esports season accumulated a total 11.4 million live stream views across all digital platforms including Sky Sports F1 in the UK, marking a remarkable 98% increase on 2019.
Last month’s Grand Final alone achieved 2.7m views across all digital platforms coupled with 1.7m social engagements, as Alfa Romeo’s Jarno Opmeer clinched his maiden F1 Esports title whilst helping his team finish second in the Constructors’ fight behind Red Bull.
Overall, last season’s Pro Series achieved 291m impressions on social media platforms in total, representing a 151% increase on the 2019 season on top of 23.8m video views which is up 29% on 2019 due to increased output on social media platforms.
F1 Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports, Julian Tan described the increased popularity as “fantastic” after adapting their operation due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
During the first worldwide lockdown, F1 Virtual Grand Prix Series proved massively popular with over 30m views, resulting in F1 deciding to bring the series back as a three-race competition in which F1 stars take on sporting icons, Esports drivers chart topping musicians in the name of charity.
The 2021 Virtual Grands Prix is set to return on Sunday 31 January 2021 with events held across three weekends across 50% race distance, with the final round held on Sunday 14 February.
Participants will complete in the drivers’ championship whilst the points haul amassed by each team will ultimately decide how the prize fund is distributed to nominated charities.