Following the success of Formula 1’s emergence onto the eSports scene, the latest series instalment saw more than 494,000 people attempt to qualify for the upcoming Pro Exhibition.
This is a mammoth 108% increase from 2020. Not only has F1 broken the record for the level of competition registered, but for the first time in the history of the tournament, a woman will be competing ahead of the Pro Championship stage.
That’s thanks to the introduction of the Women’s Wildcard, which provides the fastest female competitor with a ticket into the F1 Esports Pro Exhibition. GiveMeSport Women spoke with Rebecca, this year’s Women’s Wildcard winner, and first female to reach this stage of the virtual tournament.
Winning the Women’s Wildcard
“To be completely honest, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” the West Yorkshire native admitted. “What’s happened this last week or so has been mental but to get here and be the first woman on this side of Esports is a bit crazy.”
Rebecca was just one of many women to try their hand at making history within F1 Esports. To qualify for the Pro Exhibition, she recorded the fastest lap at Silverstone out of the entire pool of competitors.
The Women’s Wildcard instalment was made up of all-female drivers competing to become the first woman to reach this stage of the tournament. When asked what spurred her on to compete at a professional level, Rebecca admitted she “likes taking the boys on” and prove that women can compete at the highest level of Esports.
What is F1 Esports?
The inaugural Formula 1 Esports Series took place in 2017, with more than 63,000 racers entering to compete to become the first ever tournament champion. Four years on, the hype surrounding the championship has skyrocketed and 2021 will see racers represent the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari on the virtual stage.
The Pro Exhibition stage, where Rebecca is currently plying her trade, will see the official Formula 1 racing teams scout out the most impressive drivers and put them forward into the final stage of the tournament. From there, the Pro Championship performances will determine who will go on to be crowned F1 Esports Series Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Champions.
As a woman competing in a very male-dominated industry, Rebecca gave insight into her journey so far and the obstacles she has tackled along the way.
“I was a bit naive at first,” she admitted when discussing her introduction to gaming. “I won’t deny it, it’s hard. There’s a little bit of animosity and you get some people who message you, asking if you’re female and they don’t like that idea. It took me a while to actually find a community that just accepted me as another racer.”
What people don’t realise is when someone says ‘you shouldn’t be racing’, it just spurs me on even more.
Rebecca’s presence online has set a huge precedent for other female gamers, specifically those who are avid online racers. Seeing a woman reach this stage of such a prestigious Esports competition will surely create a domino effect when it comes to females on the virtual scene.
Despite her humble nature, Rebecca knows the magnitude of her achievement and is proud to fly the flag for women all over the world.
“I suppose in a way, young girls and other women have someone to look up to with me doing what I’m doing. I’m not denying it’s a big thing and to be part of it is something I’m proud of.
“I won’t deny that it’s hard [to break through] but with everything that’s exploded in Esports lately, things are getting better. It’s not as bad as what it used to be when I started out ten years ago. There’s a lot of places now that have females racing.”
Like many others, Rebecca found comfort in competing online and finding like-minded racers during the UK’s lockdown period.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done without it. If I didn’t have what I’ve got – somewhere to take yourself off and escape from the world – it would’ve be a lot harder than what it was.”
Watch the F1 Esports Series Pro Exhibition on demand via the official F1 Facebook, YouTube and Twitch channels. For more info visit: f1esports.com.