Quarantine continues, so many traditional sports disciplines moved to online. Offline races were cancelled, so Formula 1 decided to develop online racing instead, that's why they made a contract with Gfinity to hold virtual races with worldwide famous racers.
The first F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix was held in virtual Bahrain with famous Guanyu Zhou, Lando Norris and Stoffel Vandoorne. The broadcast collected 395K viewers at the peak.
For Lando Norris, Formula 1 driver, this was a record-breaking event, he attracted more than 100K viewers on his Twitch broadcast.
F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series Vietnam became the most popular Grand Prix among all F1 events and collected 476K peak viewers and 626K Hours Watched. Such result was achieved thanks to broadcasts of participants, including Lando Norris and the winner Charles Leclerc. Ben Stokes, an English cricket player, also took part in the race.
Although Charles Leclerc is a novice in esports and streaming, he gathered 72K viewers on his first Grand Prix broadcast.
English streams on Twitch collected 459K spectators, German - 11K and Italian gathered 6K viewers at the peak. In addition to streams on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, the race was also broadcast on American channel ESPN2.
Charles Leclerc took the 1st place again on F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series China. Thibaut Courtois, goalkeeper for Real Madrid, appeared as a wildcard. English broadcast gathered 259K spectators at the peak, and Portuguese - 24K, but at the same time we've noticed a decrease by viewership statistics.
F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series The Netherlands took place in the beginning of May, this stage was broadcast on Sky Sports F1 in the UK, English cricketers Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad were invited players. Alexander Albon, who played for Red Bull Racing Esports, took the 1st place.
The statistics continued to decrease - 261K viewers watched the broadcast on the peak. At the same time, the viewers on Portuguese broadcast increased thanks to Popular CS:GO streamer Gaules. He streamed for an hour and collected 37K viewers on the peak. Russian-speaking viewers also increased - 5K viewers.
One of the last races is F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series Spain. Thibaut Courtois, Arthur Melo from FC Barcelona and Sergio Agüero from Manchester City were invited as wildcards. George Russell, the Formula 2 champion, finally won the race.
As for the viewership statistics, 218K English-speaking viewers and 3K Russian-speaking viewers were watching the broadcast at the peak and Hours Watched number concluded 270K, Charles Leclerc became the most popular streamer of the Spanish race, and the second place was taken by Jimmy Broadbent, popular YouTuber, who streamed the event on his channel.
The last F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series Monaco was held on May 24. GP3 champions Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon made their debut in online races. Apart from professional drivers, Thibaut Courtois, surfer Kai Lenny, Arsenal fowrard Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and singer Luis Fonsi also participated.
The final stage had the biggest number of Formula 1 drivers - 8. George Russell continued his winning streak and took the first place.
Hours Watched concluded 265K and 217K viewers watched the broadcast on the peak. Apart from Twitch, Grand Prix in Monaco had a broadcast on YouTube and Facebook and collected 67K and 41K peak viewers accordingly.
As we can see, Formula 1 Grand Prix showed pretty good results by viewership statistics compared to other events in this discipline.
The development of online racing doesn’t end there. Formula 1 extended their contract with Gfinity and expanded the championship because real racing won’t begin until July. That's why we have 3 more Grand Prix in future - in Baku (7th June), Montreal (14th June) and Paul Rikar (28th June).
F1 Pro Series was launched at the same time with Formula 1. F2 and F3 racers teamed up to host the F2 Virtual Racing, which was broadcast on the official F1 channel. F1 also began streaming the #NotTheGP Versus Series from Veloce Esports, but you’ll find more about these events in our future article about esports racing.
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