Formula One drivers to compete in Esports Virtual Grand Prix series

Ross Houston
March 31, 2020

Formula 1 has announced that it is launching a new F1 esports Virtual Grand Prix series to keep fans entertained despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation, which has led to the postponement of this season's opening races.

The iconic Monaco Grand Prix was also cancelled on Thursday, with the sport now aiming to start racing in Azerbaijan on June 7.

Lando Norris has already signed up for Veloce's "Not the Bah GP" on Sunday but the two events don't clash, as it is now scheduled to take place at 18:00 GMT (2 p.m. ET).

Set to take place on the Sunday of every postponed Grand Prix weekend, the Virtual Series will transport F1 drivers to a virtual grid.

A joint statement by Formula One and FIA said the decisions were taken "to ensure the health and safety of traveling staff, participants and fans".

"All teams expressed their support for the FIA and Formula One in their ongoing efforts to restructure the 2020 calendar as the global situation regarding COVID-19 develops".

The events start this weekend with the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix run on the official 2019 F1 video game. F1 is very careful to note that no championship points are on offer for the results of the series...

Esports Insider says: With other motorsport series creating sim racing events involving their drivers, it was only a matter of time before F1 did the same. "Due to the wide variety of gaming skill levels amongst the drivers, game settings will be configured in such a way to encourage competitive and entertaining racing". The official Formula 1 YouYube, Twitch, and Facebook channels will broadcast it, or, if you prefer.

With the first four races of the season - Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China - postponed, and the Dutch and Spanish GPs unlikely to go ahead as planned at the start of May, the start of the season is uncertain.

"Featuring a number of current F1 drivers".

While Frank Sagnier, Chief Executive Officer, Codemasters added: "We're excited to be a part of the new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series".

The announcement also comes after Red Bull's Max Verstappen and McLaren's Lando Norris scored impressive digital viewing figures when they turned to simulation titles in the wake of the postponed Australian Grand Prix.

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