Formula One drivers to compete in Esports Virtual Grand Prix series

Monday, 23 Mar, 2020

Now, though, Formula 1 has joined the party following the news that their season won't begin until June at the very earliest.

First up is the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix on what was supposed to be the second weekend of the actual F1 season.

Given that some drivers will be famous YouTubers or various players from the world of entertainment or sport, F1 has acted as a leveller to let players use the assist they need.

The Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix on the Sakhir track will be scaled back to last 28 laps.

However, the International Olympic Committee have so far pledged to carry on with the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to run between July 24-Aug 9. The cars will also have reduced vehicle damage and performance.

The Dutch Grand Prix is likely to be a candidate for a rescheduled date in the original summer break due to its proximity to Spa-Francorchamps where the summer break was due to end on August 25.

However, the F1 racers will not be alone in the Virtual Grand Prix.

Federation Internationale de l'Automobile officials made the decision to cancel the races "in order to ensure the health and safety of the traveling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern".

F1's Head of Digital Initiatives Julian Tan stated that these challenging times are an opportunity "to highlight the benefits of eSports and the incredible skill that's on show".

"At the meeting there was full support for the plans to reschedule as numerous postponed races as possible as soon as it is safe to do so", said Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey.

This weekend's race will be staged at the Gfinity Esports Arena from 8:00pm (GMT), with a live broadcast on the official F1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels. Qualifying will be included, with race distances capped at 50 percent of the usual length.

The Monaco Grand Prix has become the latest Formula One race to be canceled as the sport continues to be affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak. The official statement only says "a number of current F1 drivers".

F1 also clarified that no world championship points will be offered in the series. This is also due to the wide range of gaming skill levels between the drivers.

Among those involved in last week's virtual races was Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Fans from around the world are given the chance to go head-to-head with F1 drivers.

Ever thought that you could Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel a run for their money in Formula 1?

Provisionally, the F1 calendar will start with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on June 7.