Five current Formula 1 drivers — Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi — are set to be on the grid for the second round of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series this weekend, which will be staged at a virtual Australian Grand Prix street course in Melbourne on F1 2019, the official licensed F1 video game.
Joining the F1 regulars will be former F1 racer turned pundit Johnny Herbert, who finished 13th in the inaugural race in Bahrain, as well as celebrity contenders including England’s Cricket World Cup Winner, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Red Bull athlete Ben Stokes and Leclerc’s younger brother Arthur – a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy – who will be racing alongside Charles for the FDA Hublot Esport Team.
Drivers will join the race remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena from 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday April 5. The broadcast, which will be available for streaming on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, is expected to run for 90 minutes, with a qualifying period where grid positions will be determined based on the drivers’ fastest lap time, followed by a 28-lap race.
In order to encourage competitive and entertaining racing, the Virtual GP series features equal car performance with fixed setups, reduced vehicle damage and optional anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with the game.
“Following the massive success of the F1 Esports Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix, we are thrilled to be able to come back online again this weekend to provide fans with some racing action,” said Julian Tan, F1’s head of digital business initiatives and Esports. “A star-studded grid is shaping up with our F1 stars – past, present and future – as well as huge names in sports and entertainment. We look forward to providing some light relief through Esports as we all navigate through these difficult times together, where our fans can engage with our sport in a different but familiar way.”