F1 Virtual Grand Prix is back for another round

In lieu of real sports events in the current crisis, several sports have switched to a different format – esports. Virtual competitions are just about the only event that can still happen unhindered – and sports leagues are taking huge interest.

As it is, the replacement F1 series is going to run every weekend, with a colorful mix of participants. This weekend, several F1 drivers have agreed to take part – Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris, and Nicholas Latifi have all agreed to be on the grid, along with former driver Johnny Herbert, English cricket player Ben Stokes.

F1 Virtual Grand Prix is back for another round

©F1 Esports Series

The race

The point of the Virtual GP is to offer fans some F1 action to watch when the real thing isn’t available. The planned real race on the Vietnam circuit in Hanoi – a yearly street circuit – isn’t available in the game, so the racers are going to be competing in the Melbourne track instead.

The drivers will all connect remotely from their own homes, while a host is going to present the whole deal from the Gfinity Esports arena. The event will start at 7pm UTC on Sunday, the 5th of April.

The planned length is an hour and a half, with a qualifying period that will see grid positions assigned based on the player’s skills – and if events like last weeks MotoGP races are anything to go by, real-life skills don’t necessarily translate to virtual driving skills as well.

In order to keep things interesting, several elements normally found in the game will be removed – for example, the tuneable parts of the cars. Each car will run with the same setup and equal performance. Vehicle damage will be reduced, and those who don’t know the game well will have access to anti-lock braking and traction control.

The future of racing

If all of that isn’t enough for you yet, you’ll can watch an exhibition race after the main event. In other words, should the F1 drivers not quite satisfy your desire for racing action, the esports racers are going at it afterwards!

“A star-studded grid is shaping up with our F1 stars – past, present, and future – as well as huge names in sports and entertainment. We look forward to providing some light relief through esports as we all navigate through these difficult times together, where our fans can engage with our sport in a different but familiar way.” – Says Julian Tan, the head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports at F1 about the upcoming Sunday event.

Don’t worry if you miss it. You’ll be able to watch a recording of the broadcast on the official F1 YouTube channel, as well as the game’s Twitch and Facebook channels.

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