The second F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix is taking place on Sunday, featuring five actual F1 drivers – TheSixthAxis

The second F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix is taking place on Sunday, featuring five actual F1 drivers

With the start of the F1 season abruptly cancelled just hours before the teams were set to send cars out on track around Albert Park in Australia, and no clear idea of when the season might be able to get underway with a shortened schedule, the powers that be in Formula 1 have searched for ways to fill the void.

They’ve taken a two-pronged approach to pass the time, where they’ve started to stream classic races in full each weekend, as well as turning to the esports capable video game F1 2019. This weekend sees the second F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix taking place on Sunday night, featuring five of the young stars of the sport racing against a motley crew of other racers and celebrities.

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Translated to British Summer Time, the Virtual Grand Prix will be taking place on Sunday 5th April at 8PM. It will feature a single qualifying session that then leads into a 28 lap race around F1 2019’s rendition of the Australian Grand Prix. It’ll be streamed on YouTube, Twitch, and also broadcast on international TV with F1’s regular partners. Yup, it’ll be on the Sky Sports F1 channel.

While the first VGP took place on the Bahrain circuit on the race weekend that the Bahrain GP would have taken place, F1 2019 doesn’t feature the Hanoi, Vietnam circuit that would have been used for this weekend. Why? Well, it’s because Hanoi was going to be a new race on the calendar for 2020 and, uh, the F1 2020 game isn’t ready yet.

But still, there’s plenty of reasons to tune into the VGP, because it will feature young up and coming stars of the sport Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Alex Albon (Red Bull), George Russell (Williams), Lando Norris (McLaren) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams). Alongside them will be other sporting stars like cricketer Ben Stokes and other less experienced racers.

Lando in particular has a reputation for taking part in esports on his time off. Max Verstappen does as well, but he doesn’t stream and isn’t taking part. In fact, they’ve teamed up for online races in the past.

Lando was actually raring to go for the first race, his own stream picking up tens of thousands of followers, which might have been fun for a while… but not when it led to his game crashing during qualifying, forcing him to start from the back of the grid, and then crashing during the race as well. Still, he managed to rejoin the lobby, and the AI had done a bang up job of avoiding the inevitable first corner carnage.

Catch the highlights of that first race here:

Source: Twitter

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2 Comments

  1. While I know you guys aren’t really NASCAR fans, I wish you (and the gaming media in general) would recognize what NASCAR has done the last two weeks with iRacing. The last two weeks have seen both races broadcast on National TV, both races broke records for most-watched esporting event viewership of all time, almost ALL of the sports’ big names are participating (not just 5), and its having a trickle down effect where other motorsports, such as the NHRA, Indy Racing League, and The World of Outlaws are turning to iRacing as a means of staying connected with their fanbase. No doubt what F1 is doing is very cool, but here in the States this is probably the biggest spotlight that iRacing has ever had and its no doubt bridging a gap between the real sport and a virtual simulation of it. NASCAR already had an officially sanctioned iRacing division, but I think this will cement iRacing’s place in the motorsports community for years to come as I expect the official racing divisions to invest in iRacing for the future. This has no doubt brought the gaming community and non-gamers much closer together. Anyhow, I appreciate what you guys do and hope you’re staying safe!

  2. I watched the first race but with no replays most of the action was missed. It might have been better if you could use the in game spectator mode so you can choose which driver you want to follow.

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