Formula 1 will bring back its official Esports competition for a third season and has "more than doubled" its prize money for 2019 to a total of $500,000.
The F1 Esports Series format remains similar to last year but it has been extended with a wider window for qualifying on the F1 2018 video game on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and compatible PCs.
Those selected from the qualifying stage will again enter the Pro Draft stage, which will take place over two days in July and allow the real-life F1 teams to select their drivers for the Pro Series.
The first of those two days will have a series of race-offs and will identify the best drivers.
The slowest drivers will be eliminated and the pool of drivers will be whittled down for the F1 teams to select from.
Once picked, The Pro Series will then take place between September and December across four live events to decide the F1 Esports Series' teams' and drivers' championship and the winner of $500,000.
There has also been a tweak to the regulations to incorporate the point for the fastest lap to match the real-life F1 2019 season.
F1 has also announced plans to expand the competition into China for the very first time, with a series of invitational events ahead of a full link-up into the 2020 Pro Draft.
“Last season was a decisive year for F1 Esports with the inclusion of the first official teams and record audience figures," said Sean Bratches, F1's commercial managing director.
"As we move into this 2019 season, F1 will remain at the forefront of this explosive industry.
"The potential within this space is extremely exciting both as a commercial opportunity, but importantly, as a way for the sport to engage with the next generation of motorsport fans.
"We are committed to exponential growth in the world of esports, and as a result, the 2019 season is going to be even bigger and better.
"Having more than doubled the prize fund, we plan to attract even more talent to the series and to continue the upward trajectory we are on.”
Frank Sagnier, CEO at Codemasters - the publishers of F1's official video game - added: “The F1 New Balance Esports Series creates exciting opportunities for Codemasters to further engage with our core community and develop experiences for fans with a passion for both virtual and real-world racing.
"We’re always investigating ways to better integrate esports into our F1 games, as this will encourage more players to test their race skills against the top professionals, and we look forward to welcoming the new talent who will emerge this season.”
To enter the F1 Esports Series, fans need to complete one attempt during the three online qualifying events on F1 2018 hosted between April and May after registering on www.f1esports.com.
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