We’re yet to get underway in the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t left us empty-handed of our racing fix with plenty of virtual GP action taking place.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen plenty of virtual events on the Official Formula 1 Video Game, F1 2019, which is developed by Codemasters.
The game is easily accessible as it’s available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, and can be played on anything from a gamepad to a full-on Fanatec racing rig.
There are racing assists to help you learn the game, anyone can play.
We’ve seen the series grow from strength to strength, with both celebrities and current F1 drivers racing together.
In the virtual GP, there are certain drivers with certain assists, as set-ups differ and there’s a range of driving abilities for entertainment purposes.
All Virtual GP’s are 50 per cent race length, conducted remotely on a special F1 2019 build.
The newest edition of the Codemasters series, F1 2020, will be released on July 20th on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Let’s see how we got to a fourth F1 Virtual GP
First up there was the Veloce Esports’s ‘Not the Aus GP’ event arranged by Jean-Eric Vergne and those behind the scenes at Veloce, quickly arranging some entertainment in the aftermath of the cancellation of the actual GP at the Albert Park Circuit.
The race featured McLaren Driver Lando Norris, YouTuber WillNE, and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibault Courtois as well as a whole load of F1 2019 Content Creators, F1 e-sport drivers, and ex-F1 drivers in Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Guitierrez.
Full coverage of the race is available below, which was won by Alfa Romeo e-sports driver Formula Dani.
The race racked up over 400k views on the official YouTube channel, and at this current moment in time has double that on Lando’s channel.
The popularity lead to a sequel the next weekend, with ‘Not the Bah GP’ replacing that weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
But that wasn’t it for the events on Bahrain weekend – F1 themselves got in on the action creating the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix with a star-studded lineup and an extra driver from the current lineup.
Lando Norris participated in both races, on the same day, back to back, as did Williams driver Nicholas Latifi.
F1 roped in two of their biggest broadcasters, in Sky Sports and ESPN, to show their series of Virtual GP’s with all three previous races are also available on the official F1 YouTube Channel.
Joining the two of them in both events were ex-F1 driver Nico Hulkenburg, and professional golfer Ian Poulter, whilst WillNE and Thibault Courtois returned for another chance at victory. The Veloce event was won by Alpha Tauri e-sports driver Cem Bölükbaşı.
As for the F1 event, Norris, Latifi, Hulkenburg, and Poulter were joined by the seven-time Olympic medallist, Sir Chris Hoy, and One Direction singer Liam Payne, representing Red Bull and Williams respectively.
Renault F1 Test Driver, Guanyu Zhou, who also races for UNI-Virtuosi Racing in F2, won the Virtual Bahrain GP.
As you may expect, sadly there are technical difficulties in e-sports, as we saw in this race.
Lando Norris disconnected from the session and was being controlled by an AI driver, whilst Anthony Davidson lost the session entirely and completed the race against 19 AI’s.
These races are attracting the attention of hundreds of thousands of viewers, and a hefty percentage of the F1 grid, who found themselves taking part in the next Virtual GP, this time in Australia. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was among the drivers taking part in that race.
Leclerc was joined by Norris and Latifi again, as well as Alex Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, and George Russell – that’s 30 per cent of the F1 grid racing against each other in only the second event put on by F1 themselves.
Alongside those two were Sky F1’s Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson, as well as former F1 World Champion, Jenson Button and England’s Cricket World Cup hero, Ben Stokes.
The race was won by Charles Leclerc, who showed incredible pace on his e-sports debut, after qualifying second.
Technical issues were back however as Lando’s game yet again disconnected, with him and Esteban Gutierrez not making the starting grid.
China was up next, and another F1 driver was added to the lineup, making that seven of 20 lining up in Shanghai.
Carlos Sainz joined his McLaren teammate Lando Norris, who yet again had technical problems, this time not making qualifying.
Leclerc was triumphant again, beating Alex Albon to first place while Guanyu Zhou returned to the podium, just beating out George Russell.
That brings us to the present day, in which we should be building up to the first Dutch GP on the Zandvoort Circuit.
As it’s a new track and wasn’t on the 2019 calendar, Zandvoort is not on the 2019 game, meaning the viewers got to vote on what track the drivers will be racing on Sunday.
The winner was Brazil and the Interlagos circuit, which has been home to many grandstand classics in recent memory. We’ll update the lineup below, as it is announced.
Confirmed F1 Virtual Brazilian GP lineup so far
- Ferrari – Charles Leclerc, Enzo Fittipaldi
- Mercedes – Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez
- Red Bull – Alex Albon, Ben Stokes
- McLaren – Lando Norris, Jelly
- Renault – Petter Solberg, Christian Lundgaard
- Racing Point – Jimmy Broadbent, David Schumacher
- Alfa Romeo – Antonio Giovinazzi, Juan Manuel Correa
- Alpha Tauri – Alessio Romagnoli, Stuart Broad
- Haas – Louis Deletraz, Pietro Fittipaldi
- Williams – George Russell, Nicholas Latifi
AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli, England cricketer Stuart Broad, and Norwegian rally driver Petter Solberg join the lineup for their first Virtual GP.
Sunday’s race will be broadcast live at 6 PM BST on Sky Sports and YouTube.
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