Formula 1 has announced it will hold its first official eSports series in co-operation with Codemasters and Gfinity, starting with initial qualifiers next month.

ESports has been enjoying an increased presence in motorsport in recent years, with F1 making initial steps through 2017 thanks to McLaren’s ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ scheme.

The series itself has now jumped on the bandwagon, announcing its new series on the official F1 2017 game on Monday morning.

Gamers will be invited to take part in a number of online challenges in a bid to qualify for the live semi-finals in London, England in October.

Those progressing will then fly to Abu Dhabi in November for the grand final, coinciding with the season-ending grand prix at Yas Marina.

“This launch presents an amazing opportunity for our business: strategically and in the way we engage fans,” F1 commercial chief Sean Bratches said.

“It’s a growing category with tremendous fan engagement that we’re entering in a big way, and we are proud to have Codemasters and Gfinity joining us on this ride.

“As we do in Formula 1, we’ll continue to evolve and innovate in the way we run this virtual counterpart to the F1 championship to ensure we provide the most exciting and enjoyable experience we can for our fans.”