Alfa Romeo’s Jarno Opmeer and Red Bull were crowned world champions in the Grand Final of the 2020 F1 Esports Series presented by Aramco after a nail-biting finale this week, which saw some of the most intense battles of the season, as the championships went down to the wire. Jarno Opmeer got his hands on his first ever F1 Esports Series title, whilst Red Bull took home their second successive team’s championship to secure the lion’s share of the series’ $750,000 prize pot.
The driver’s championship standings were incredibly tight going in to the Grand Final, with Alfa Romeo’s Jarno Opmeer, Red Bull’s pairing of Marcel Kiefer and Frede Rasmussen, and Nicolas Longuet of Renault, all in with a shot of winning the main prize. Whilst the teams’ championship was on the line for Red Bull and Alfa Romeo.
Wednesday’s action started with a trip to Suzuka, as drivers battled it out on the high-speed track, negiotiating the iconic ‘S’ curves, where Frede Rasmussen secured a huge win in the race for the title. Nicolas Longuet took crucial points in P2, whilst Racing Point’s Daniele Haddad scored a surprise first podium of the season.
Jarno Opmeer rounded off Wednesday with a well-fought, much-needed win at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, ahead of two-time Esports champion Brendon Leigh and title rival Frede Rasmussen, who finished second and third respectively.
The season culminated where many famous F1 campaigns have ended, in Interlagos, as Nicolas Longuet finished the year with a brilliant drive to take victory in a breathtaking race. Marcel Kiefer’s P2 finish secured the teams’ championship and Brendon Leigh finished on the podium to round off the series and end his season on a high. Jarno Opmeer settled for P7, but it was enough to secure the title, after a time penalty put Frede Rasmussen down in P11, as he won his first drivers’ championship by 22 points.
The Pro Series Grand Final closed a thrilling season of action and excitement, which has been historic in its own right as driver’s raced remotely for the first time, from their homes or team factories, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two trophies, alongside the DHL Fastest Lap Award to AlphaTauri’s Joni Törmälä, were awarded virtually from the Gfinity Esports Arena in London, where this season’s live shows have been broadcast from, as fans around the world were treated to more content than ever before. Throughout the season, live shows have been streamed online via F1’s official channels on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Huya, as well as broadcast by international television partners such as ESPN (US), Sky (UK) and Ziggo (Netherlands).
F1 Esport’s ventures have flourished in the face of adversity in 2020, with over 30 million viewers tuning in for the Virtual Grand Prix series earlier this year, and the most popular Pro Series yet. The huge popularity of F1’s Esports output is mirrored by sales of Codemasters’ official F1 2020 video game, and record numbers of participants attempting to qualify for next year’s series.
The support of the series’ partners, Aramco, DHL and Fanatec is paramount to the F1 Esports Series’ ongoing success. For more information visit www.f1esports.com.
Chase Carey, CEO at Formula 1 said:
“A massive thanks and congratulations to all the teams and people that made this Esports season possible. I know it’s not been easy and the virus has created challenges for all of us but they’ve not only taken on those challenges but achieved success beyond our wildest expectations. It’s been an incredible year from end to end, with participation up over 100%. There’s been great energy in the Esports competition, and we look forward to an even more exciting year next year and continued growth!”
Christian Horner, Team Principal at Red Bull Racing Team said:
“Congratulations to the Red Bull Racing Esports team on successfully defending the constructors title, a fantastic job by all three of you [the drivers], so enjoy it! It is a great result and something for us to live up to next year on the main circuit.”
Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters said:
“On behalf of the F1 2020 team, I’d like to congratulate Jarno Opmeer on his maiden championship. Despite the remote participation due to COVID-19, we have witnessed some incredible racing moments, and thanks go to the drivers and teams for their commitment during a very challenging season. It’s been a fantastic year for F1® 2020 and the F1 Esports Series, which has seen record participation and viewership numbers. We look forward to even bigger and better things in 2021, starting with the F1 Esports Series Challengers.”
John Clarke, CEO at Gfinity said:
“F1 Esports Series has once again demonstrated the power and excitement of virtual racing at the highest level. The drivers and teams keep raising the bar with their performances. Record numbers of fans now have an even deeper appreciation of the skill levels required to compete and win. Congratulations to everyone involved in another outstanding season. And bring on 2021!”.