The Formula 1’s Esports Series for the 2018 season will kick-off its final stage on July 9 when nine F1 teams will choose their drivers to compete later this year to determine the 2018 season’s champion.

From among the 66,000 players who entered the F1’s Esports Series’ qualifier rounds, 40 drivers have been shortlisted for the Pro Draft to be held in London on July 9, 2018 where nine F1 teams will get to choose their own Esports driver.

Apart from Ferrari, the nine teams in the series are Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Red Bull Racing, Hype Energy eForce India F1 Esports Team, Williams, Renault Sport Team Vitality, Haas F1 Esports Team, McLaren, Toro Rosso Esports Team and Sauber F1 Team.

The 40 players will travel to Silverstone in the build-up to the British Grand Prix where they will ‘undergo a series of tests, assessments and interviews with the teams to demonstrate why they should be selected’.

The qualifying rounds had a rousing reception especially from the United Kingdom (23%), the United States of America (16%) and Germany (13%). The selected drivers will then compete for the 2018 drivers’ and teams’ championships.

F1’s Head of Digital Growth and Esports Julian Tan said:Last year’s series was a great success and based on the level of those who have qualified for this year’s Pro Draft, the 2018 season is shaping up to be even more exciting.

“The drivers will now battle it out for what is a truly incredible opportunity. With the F1 teams involved we have been able to combine the power of Esports with the magic of Formula 1, establishing an authentic series that builds on what we have on the grid. We can’t wait to watch the action unfold.”

Chief Commercial Officer at Gfinity Mark Brittain commented:The online tournament has seen a record number of competitors and the competition has been incredibly competitive. We now look forward to welcoming the top players and their potential Teams to the Gfinity Esports Arena for the Pro Draft as we enter the second phase of our activation.”

F1 Franchise Director at Codemasters Paul Jeal added:We have been incredibly impressed with the speed and race craft that we have seen from our players during online qualification.

“We have 40 outstanding racers ready for the Pro Draft, with a near equal split on returning finalists and semi finalists from last years competition, and new drivers who are ready to experience the thrill of the live events for the first time.

“For our gamers to have the opportunity to join a real Formula 1 team is an incredible opportunity and we cannot wait to see them perform on the biggest stage on F1 2018.”