Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon are among a five-strong contingent of current Formula 1 stars that will race in this weekend’s second F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix.
F1 set up the Virtual GP series in lieu of of its real-world 2020 season getting underway due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the opening eight round of the campaign to be either cancelled or postponed.
The Virtual GP series is to be held on the weekends when racing should have been taking place, with the Esports series first filling the void of the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend.
Double F1 race winner Leclerc joins the field in his virtual Ferrari for the first time this weekend, making his Virtual GP debut alongside Red Bull sophomore Albon and Williams driver George Russell.
McLaren’s Lando Norris and Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi will return for a second appearance.
Norris proved to be the star of the show in the first Virtual GP, after numerous technical issues led to him making live calls to fellow F1 drivers and his McLaren team on his stream of the event.
That group of current F1 drivers will be joined by former F1 racer and current Sky F1 pundit Johnny Herbert, off the back of his 13th in the Bahrain race, as well as England cricketing superstar Ben Stokes.
Supercars regular Andre Heimgartner will also be part of the field, with more drivers to be announced between now and Sunday’s race.
While being held on what would have been the Vietnamese Grand Prix weekend, the second virtual race will take place on the Albert Park layout, as the Hanoi circuit doesn’t feature on the 2019 version of the official F1 game.
The broadcast of the race will kick off at 8pm BST on Sunday.
F1’s official Esports series is just one of several being created across the world of motorsport to keep fans entertained during coronavirus-enforced lockdown worldwide.
MotoGP had its debut Esports race last weekend, which featured 10 official riders – including reigning world champion Marc Marquez.
IndyCar also debuted its Esports series featuring official drivers last weekend, while Supercars is set to launch its own Eseries.
Published at Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:17:16 +0000
MotoGP’s number of cancelled or postponed races due to the coronavirus pandemic has risen to six, after May’s French Grand Prix was officially postponed on Thursday.
MotoGP has yet to get a premier class race underway in 2020, after the season-opener in Qatar at the start of last month was cancelled a week prior owing to stricter travel measures imposed by the country due to COVID-19.
As the virus continued to worsen around the globe, the following rounds in Thailand, America, Argentina and Spain were all postponed by MotoGP promoters Dorna Sports and governing body the FIM.
Last month, the ACO announced that this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours car race had been pushed out of its June slot to September – putting the writing on the wall for the May 15-17 Le Mans MotoGP race.
Organisers had been expected to make a decision on the race at the start of April, with the new being confirmed on Friday morning.
As with the postponement of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez – which was due to take place on May 3 – no revised calendar has been issued due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A brief statement from the FIM read: “The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France, which was set to be held at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from the 15th to the 17th of May.
“The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled.
“As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for the French GP and the recently-postponed Gran Premio Red Bull de España cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events.
“A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.”
Dorna had previously remained committed to running all 19 races (Qatar won’t be rescheduled to due to essential track works taking place later this year) in a revised calendar, with ideas of two-race weekends and running the season into January mooted.
However, it appears that Dorna has relaxed this approach and is thought to be looking at running considerably fewer rounds and avoiding extending the campaign into ’21.
Contractually, Dorna has to run 13 races, though the uniqueness of the current situation will likely allow for flexibility with this.
The Italian Grand Prix at the end of May will also be postponed, though official confirmation of this is still to come.
Published at Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:07:19 +0000