Ferrari wins on debut in F1 esports

The F1 Esports Series takes place in the GFinity Area in Fulham, England. Miles Willis/Getty Images

After taking its first two victories of the 2019 F1 season at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, Ferrari added its first victory in the F1 Esports Pro Series on Wednesday night.

Formula One's esports competition has been running since 2017 and last year included teams for the first time, with Mercedes driver -- and 2017 champion -- Brendon Leigh being crowned champion. Ferrari opted not to participate in 2018 but added the Ferrari Driver Academy to the championship for the first time this year.

On the team's debut and in the first race of the 2019 series, Italian gamer David Tonizza won on the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of Renault's Jarno Opmeer in second place. Tonizza went on to win the second race on the Shanghai International Circuit too, before Red Bull driver Frederik Rasmussen won a third race of the evening on the Baku City Circuit.

Reigning champion Leigh finished fifth, 11th (due to a post-race penalty for contact with a rival driver) and fourth, leaving him sixth in the standings overall on 22 points, while Tonizza leads on 65 ahead of Rasmussen in second place on 43.

Wednesday's three races represented the first of four live events spread across September and December to decide who will be crowned 2019 champion. A total prize fund of $500,000 is up for grabs.

The official F1 game is used for the racing, with the competitors sitting in playseats in front of a love audience at the GFinity Arena in Fulham. The event is live-streamed and shown by some F1 broadcasters.