With more and more F1 races being postponed or cancelled, the calendar now displays a blank space until -at least- the month of June. With the goal of keeping the spectacle alive, Formula 1 will reunite some of the actual grid, pro e-sport drivers, and special guests to recreate online races replacing the postponed events.
The Virtual Grand Prix Series will start this weekend, on Sunday the 22nd (20:00 GMT), with the Virtual Bahrain GP, and is scheduled to take place at least until May.
Every postponed event will be replaced by an online race streamed on F1’s social medias.
Beside the actual drivers, many hosts’ participation will be announced in due course. To guarantee everyone’s safety, racers will play remotely from their own houses.
The videogame they are going to race on is the PC version on Codemaster’s Formula 1 2019, with some adjustable driving aids for those who are not familiar with the game. The cars will be equal on performances with standard set-ups.
The first GP, hosted at the virtual Sakhir circuit, will have a 50% length, with 28 laps to complete. The overall event is estimated to last about 1.30 hours, including a qualifying session to decide the starting grid order.
Due to the entertainment-only purpose of the initiative, there will be no championship points awarded at the end of the Virtual Grand Prix. Also, GPs as Vietnam and Zandvoort, not playable on Formula 1 2019, will be replaced by alternative events.
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said: “We are very pleased to be able to bring some light relief in the form of the F1 Esports Virtual GP, in these unpredictable times, as we hope to entertain fans missing the regular sporting action. With every major sports league in the world unable to compete, it is a great time to highlight the benefits of esports and the incredible skill that’s on show.”