F1 Esports 2021 Event 1: Start times, tracks, drivers & more

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F1 Esports is finally back! The lights go out in just a few days and the most competitive grid in sim racing will go wheel-to-wheel, battling for a chunk of the $750,000 prize pool.

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Split into four events, each one will consist of three races run over two days. So what can we expect from the first event? Let's take a look!

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The tracks

Let's start with the circuits. The best drivers in F1 2021 will visit Bahrain, China, and Austria in the first event.

All three tracks are fast, but they will challenge drivers with tricky corners and enough awkward sectors. One mistake will punish any driver.

Bahrain's long straights should prevent any DRS train forming, but the difficult T10 and the switchback chances from T1 up to T4 should create a lot of excitement.

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In China, you obviously have that long back straight but also some tricky tactical and tyre decisions thanks to the long and unrelenting right-handers which will burn through the front-left tyre.

Austria will be a flatout blast and a battle of ERS management more so than tyres.

All three tracks are full of overtaking opportunities though and will benefit the alternate strategy, giving those knocked out in Q2 a chance to make some moves later in the race too.

Start times & how to watch

The Bahrain and Chinese Grands Prix will run on Wednesday, 13 October with the Austrian Grand Prix running on Thursday, 14 October.

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All the races will be shown on Formula 1's official Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube channels and broadcast live from the Gfinity Arena in London.

Both shows will start at 7:30pm BST so be sure to tune in then so you don't miss a moment!

Drivers to watch

All eyes will be on 2020 Drivers' Champion Jarno Opmeer. The Dutchman moved from Alfa Romeo to Mercedes this year and has partnered with 2020 Rookie of the Year Dani Moreno in an attempt to pry the Teams' Championship away from Red Bull Racing.

The Bulls retain their partnership of Frede Rasmussen and Marcel Kiefer. Both drivers will be looking to claim their first Drivers' Championship but are no strangers to teamwork and selfless driving.

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Aston Martin's Lucas Blakeley, Alpine's Nicholas Longuet, and the FDA pair of David Tonizza and Brendon Leigh will also be looking to get involved in the title fight this season.

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The 2021 grid is the most competitive that F1 Esports has ever see, and under the current format no driver has been able to retain their title. Opmeer will feel confident about his chances, but there is an array of talented drivers looking to take the crown from him.