With Codemasters releasing the latest version of the official game of Formula 1, F1 2021, on Friday 16th July, F1 put on a special celebrity race, the F1 Celebrity Race-Off, to mark the occasion.
The event featured a selection of gaming streamers and sportspeople running a pair of 25 per cent length semi-final races, to qualify for a final of the same format, all held at Silverstone in honour of this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
In the battle of the streamers, it was Adeniran “FNG” Yesufu – part of Lando Norris’s Quadrant esports and content team – who set the pole position time, but he was quickly overwhelmed by Dickens “DurkChocolate” Ngoma on the first lap, while regular F1 streamer Maxime “MaximeMXM” Bijmans was beset by technical difficulties and disconnected.
Ngoma’s lead was short lived though, and after the pit stops he found himself several seconds behind Jack “Pieface” McDermott, and the former Big Brother contestant never relinquished that advantage. Ngoma had to settle for second, only fractions of a second ahead of Yesufu, with Chris “ChesnoidGaming” Wood, Ross “TommyT999” Thompson, and Jelle “Jelly” Van Vucht all in qualifying positions.
Unsurprisingly, it was racing driver Nic Hamilton leading the way in the sports personality semi-final, setting a pole position lap nearly four seconds better than footballer Brandon Williams, before destroying the field by a clear 40 seconds at the finish. The race was dominated by warnings for the footballers, with Andros Townsend, Adebayo Akinfenwa, and Mason Holgate all picking up black and white flags – Holgate having appeared to jump the start by some considerable margin – while DJ Dev Griffin ran a clean race to finish third.
However, even a racing driver couldn’t live with the streamers, and despite a reasonably good start, Hamilton found himself slipping back through the field to finish fourth. The victory went to McDermott, a comfortable 11 seconds clear of Yesufu, with Ngoma recovering to third despite a first lap spin.
While regular esports was taking a back seat this week, the team line-ups for the upcoming Formula Series were announced. Formula Series will consist of two championships, with Formula Challenge acting as a feeder series to the main Formula Pro tier. Both series will use a fictional Formula car, also known as Formula Pro, which features an 800PS V10 engine in a chassis weighing 680kg at rest.
The 13-team entry list features top-tier esports teams like Red Bull, Williams, Fordzilla, and Redline, and there’s an official entry from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas esports team too. Each team will field two drivers, which will include well-known names like Bono Huis (Mercedes), Erhan Jajovski (R8G), Kevin Siggy Rebernak (Redline), and Martin Stefanko (Williams), among others.
Formula Pro gets underway this coming week, alongside more rounds of the GT World Challenge in Europe, Asia, and Americas, another stage of the Lamborghini “Real Race”, and the iRacing 24 Hours of Spa.
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