F1 Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix concludes – is the future of (e)sports remote?

It’s no secret that, alongside the real-world Formula 1, an esports series featuring the same teams take place. While F1 esports doesn’t draw nearly as many fans as other types of games do, It has nevertheless garnered a considerable following. In no small part its due to its close ties to the real-world F1 cup.

Well, because of the current global crisis, the real events were all cancelled. It’s precisely this series that gave F1 esports and racing fans something to watch. The game itself is developed by Codemasters and has seen competitions for the last two years. Now back in its third rendition, it has a bigger audience than ever.

F1 Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix concludes is the future of (e)sports remote?

© F1 Esports Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix

F1 Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix Results

Given the current situation, it’s no surprise that the event had to take place virtually – and that came with a few problems. Not unlike the technical issues faced by real racers. One racer in the event had some unexpected problems. Specifically, McLaren-member Norris had to start last and spend part of his race just watching.

He was replaced by a bot named the ‘LandoBot’ because of technical issues. This isn’t unlike what real drivers may have to go through – after all, technical problems aren’t exactly unheard of. Another driver, Alfa Romeo’s Cyanide, had to drop out over tech issues entirely.

Norris’ bot, on the other hand, did fairly well, battling for third place on the first lap. By the time Norris had taken back over, he was slipping to P4, and sadly couldn’t recover. The 14-lap race was ultimately won by Formula 2 racer Guanyu Zhou. He started on the second row, behind Red Bull racer Philipp Eng and Mercedes driver Esteban Gutierrez.

Stoffel Vandoorne came in second, just before Philipp Eng. It wasn’t just them that showed off their skills though – especially YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent performed spectacularly, after a start from 16th. He worked his way up to battle the top 5 – no small feat!

The future of esports?

Because of what’s happening in the world, this tournament format ran a little differently from others. Most top tier tournaments are held in one location, with players attending in person, for a LAN competition. This eliminates certain technical issues like lag, etc, but with the recent crisis, this is not really an option.

This switch to virtual competitions that are being held remotely is a smart one, of course – it allows for esports tournaments to continue relatively smoothly at a time where all sports is banned or outright impossible.

It certainly gives people something to do, and especially F1 fans might just appreciate the fact that they have something else to watch – even if it isn’t their favourite live races. For now, the F1 esports series will continue – with a race every weekend, to replace the cancelled ones.

The lineup of players featured stars as well as actual drivers and esports players – sure to appeal to a fairly wide audience. It’s not the same, but it’s a good way of making up for lost opportunities. In the current global environment, ingenuity in esports is one of the best creative outlets available – right down to simulated sports!

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