Mercedes launches F1 Esports team

Mercedes has become the latest Formula One team to launch its own Esports team ahead of this year's official F1 Esports Series.

The world champions have recruited the inaugural F1 Esports Series champion Brendon Leigh, alongside fellow gamers Harry Jacks, Patryk Krutyi and Dani Bereznay, who was selected by the team at the F1 Esports Pro Draft.

Ferrari is the only team not participating in this year's F1 Esports Series, which will run from October to November this year on the latest version of the official F1 game.

The new Mercedes Esports team will be based at the F1 team's Brackley factory where a purpose-built Esports training centre will be created to help the gamers develop their skills. The new facility is in the same building as the team's driver-in-loop simulator, which is used to develop the real F1 car driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Although F1 was initially slow to set up its own Esports series, under the ownership of Liberty Media it has used online gaming as a method to connect with a younger fanbase. This year, each F1 team was invited to set up its own Esports team, with the gamers partly recruited by the teams directly and partly selected via an online competition that led to this year's Pro Draft.

The next stage of the championship will see the nine teams of gamers race against each other in an organised competition in October.