With no real racing on the cards any time soon, Formula 1 has decided to move into the virtual world.
It has replaced races postponed or cancelled due to coronavirus with an Esports Virtual Grand Prix series that begins with the Bahrain GP this weekend – the weekend the actual race was due to take place.
Current F1 drivers will battle it out online with ‘a host of stars’ to tide fans over until the real racing can return.
The start of the 2020 season has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the opening race in Australia cancelled before Grands Prix in Bahrain, Vietnam, China, the Netherlands and Spain were postponed.
The iconic Monaco GP was also cancelled on Thursday, with the sport currently aiming to start racing in Azerbaijan on June 7.
And F1 chiefs have come up with this unique way of keeping fans entertained after seeing McLaren driver Lando Norris rank as the top streamer on Twitch last weekend as he raced the season-opening Aussie GP on the F1 2019 video game.
“Formula 1 has today announced the launch of a new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series,” a statement read.
“Featuring a number of current F1 drivers. The series has been created to enable fans to continue watching Formula 1 races virtually, despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation that has affected this season’s opening race calendar.
“The first race of the series will see current F1 drivers line up on the grid alongside a host of stars to be announced in due course. In order to guarantee the participants safety at this time, each driver will join the race remotely.”
The races will be run at half-distance and will take place at the same time as the postponed Grands Prix would have occurred.
The events start this weekend with the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix run on the official 2019 F1 video game.
Viewers will be able to tune in via YouTube, Facebook and Twitch with a qualifying session to determine the grid preceding the race itself.
While results will not count towards the F1 world championship the plan is to run the virtual tournament until the real racing can return.
Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport