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Esports News: Virtual Grand Prix Broke all Records in 2020

Last year was huge for F1 with the F1 Esports 2020 seeing a record number of fans tuning in to watch its virtual racing offering. This post looks at the numbers that make up a record year for the sport, and details of the upcoming F1 Virtual Grand Prix.

Traditional methods for watching and playing sports and games are rapidly being overtaken in popularity by virtual platforms. People worldwide are increasingly enjoying their favourite sports and games online, from the comfort of their own homes.

The same is true for casinos, although being accessible online for years with a steady increase in user numbers, 2020 saw a huge rush of popularity. Now, even previously uninitiated casino goers are enjoying their favourite games such as Japanese roulette and Blackjack.

For instance, in Japan, people are playing online casino, which is also known as オンラインカジノ, instead of visiting casino buildings. The online experience can often be more fun than traditional casinos. There are engaging sound effects, colourful graphics and a vast choice of games all under one roof. You can even access the experience from a range of devices and pass some time wherever you are. Similarly, people in the UK and worldwide, have been turning to online platforms to watch sports such as F1.

2020’s Impressive F1 Viewing Stats at a Glance

  • Across all digital platforms, there were 11.4 million live stream views
  • The live stream usage represents a massive increase of 98% compared to 2019
  • The F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series achieved 30 million views across TV and digital platforms
  • The Grand Final had 2.7 million views – a new record for a Pro Series event
  • The Grand Final gained 1.7 million social media engagements – a new record for an F1 Esports Series event
  • Participation in qualifiers increased by 117%, with a record 237,000 players attempting to qualify
  • Social media impressions for the Pro Series increased by 151% compared to 2019, reaching 291 million in 2020
  • Video views of the Pro Series were up by 29% on the previous year, reaching 23.8 million

Is the F1 Virtual Grand Prix Returning in 2021?

The Virtual Grand Prix will return in 2021, on Sunday, January 31st. Events will last three weekends, and the final round will be on Sunday, February 14th.

The event is exciting for fans because it bridges the gap between the beginning of 2021 and the start of the F1 season. There will be some format changes, though.

Stars of the F1 Esports Series will take part in a five-lap sprint race to preface the race. The new addition will act as a kind of qualifying race for the feature race. Expect to see elite duo racing drivers, celebrities and sports stars on the field.

When it comes to the feature race, the sprint race results will determine the grid order. The feature race will be 50% race distance. The circuits are as yet unknown, but there is speculation about the Red Bull Ring.

The Feature Races will determine points. The championship order at the end of the three races will determine the distribution of the prize fund. The prize money donations will go to the charities that the teams nominate.

Despite a tumultuous start to 2020 with races being postponed or cancelled, it’s clear that F1 finished on a high with these record-breaking viewing numbers. 2021 looks set to be an exciting year for F1 with some fundamental rule changes and the upcoming Virtual Grand Prix bringing a little fun into the bleak winter months.

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