With the first official F1 Esports Series (won by UK player Brendon Leigh) concluding last November, F1 esports is now on the map - but what about smaller grassroots leagues?
PS4 racing league F1 Ts Hub has not long completed its eight season, having been running for five years now.
Season 10 has averaged its highest attendance with roughly 17 drivers per race and more than 30 drivers taking part each Friday Night. We caught up with league founder and co-owner Nick Egan for the inside story and future plans.
ENUK: Please tell us about the F1 Ts Hub and what sets it apart.
Nick Egan: F1 Ts Hub has been running for five years now and is an F1 esports racing league exclusive to the PS4. We use the current Formula One game made by Codemasters and offer drivers the chance to race weekly and live the life of a real F1 driver through an off-track experience unlike any other.
We solely race on a Friday Night and host official media days on the Thursday prior. We try to keep the rules and regulations as close to real F1 whilst offering drivers the flexibility of racing online against fair but competitive competition.
Like any sport, we have a rich history with moments to remember on and off track. We've crowned champions and seen tears, but the races always live up to their hype. Any driver that races with us will tell you our organisation and professionalism running the league is second to none.
What is the tournament structure like?
We are currently just past the halfway stage of our 10th anniversary season. In Season 10 we race every Friday night with two tiers, our Podium (7pm GMT) and Pinnacle (9pm).
You are placed in a tier that best represents your overall pace on F1 2017 in order to provide the correct levels of competition. This season we have a full 20 race calendar mirroring the tracks on the Formula One 2017 Race Calendar.
We've just finished our three-week Christmas break and other than that our drivers will race weekly with a Championship format starting from the first race to the last. Like real Formula One, there is a Constructor's and Driver's Championship up for grabs in both our tiers, which are determined by the points you and your team collect over the course of the season.
How can people get involved in the tournament?
This season with our two tiers we have a total of 40 spaces which has been full since the first race of the season. We are currently operating a waiting list where drivers will be placed as and when a space becomes available.
For more information on how to join & to see our full Season 10 Calendar visit the F1 Ts Hub website.
We accept drivers of all abilities. We have a whole range of nationalities who race at F1 Ts Hub. Although we are based in Britain, we offer our spaces to anyone all over the world, male or female. We do have a majority of UK-based drivers but we also have drivers from the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the US just to mention a few!
Over our history, we've never looked to have the quickest drivers because we believe no matter your speed, there is a whole lot more to esports racing.
How can people watch?
New for Season 10, we've started streaming all of our races live with professional commentary. This has been our biggest success of 2017 and we have hundreds of views on our races every week.
Not only do our drivers look forward to watching back the races, but we also see viewers from the whole F1 community and fans who come to watch and support their favourite drivers & friends.
If you're interested in tuning in one Friday night for either our Podium or Pinnacle Tier coverage - you can do so exclusively on YouTube - make sure you hit that subscribe button too!
"New for Season 10, we've started streaming all of our races live with professional commentary. This has been our biggest success of 2017 and we have hundreds of views on our races every week."
Do you have any plans to add a LAN finals in the future?
Currently we host all of our races over the online feature in the F1 games. However we have been discussing with a number of esports partners whether we can bring F1 Ts Hub to the live stage and host either a Championship Finale or just an exclusive event.
@F1TsHub on Twitter for updates and news on this.
Why F1? Do you have plans to go into other games?
F1 is something myself and the team at F1 Ts Hub feel very passionate about. We really feel Formula One is a fantastic sport which is portrayed well onto the official Formula One games by Codemasters.
At the moment we don't have any plans to expand to any other games or platforms, but we believe there is always improvements and richer content that can be developed to increase our popularity within the F1 community.
Please tell us about the current tournament and when the finals are.
Our current season started in October and is a 20-race calendar featuring the same tracks and in the same order as the official Formula One 2017 Season. Each race night, drivers will complete a short qualifying session followed by a 50% race distance which will determine the results, subject to any post-race stewarding enquiries that our stewarding team take care of on a weekly basis!
We have completed 11/20 races so far and all championships are completely open in both our tiers. As we start to reach the end of the season, tension starts to build. And the drivers - fighting with championships to lose - put in more practice and feel the extra pressure.
Our final race of Season 10 is at Abu Dhabi on March 9th and we always love the battle to go down to the wire.
"As we start to reach the end of the season, tension starts to build. And the drivers - fighting with championships to lose - put in more practice and feel the extra pressure."
What are your future plans?
As with anything in life, we are always looking at ways that we can improve and provide further entertainment to our drivers. At the end of each season our team evaluate our strengths and weaknesses and we identify what we need to improve on for the next season.
For the future and 2018, F1 Ts Hub will continue to offer drivers a fun and competitive racing experience with an unlike any other off track experience. You can expect to see F1 Ts Hub develop partnerships with other brands associated within esports and see the league look to further assert itself as the closest to real F1.
There will be opportunities to see more drivers join our community and experience the weekly buzz and excitement that we currently offer, whilst maintaining our strong values and commitment to respect and player enjoyment.
Visit the F1 Ts Hub website here