Only five current Formula 1 drivers will take part in the final Virtual Grand Prix series race on Sunday, in part due to a clash with the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans Esports event.
The sim racing events have enjoyed a peak of eight F1 drivers at any one time with a regular core of Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, Lando Norris, George Russell, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi. However, while Sunday’s race at a virtual Montreal has already been named the final event, Leclerc, Norris and Giovinazzi are confirmed as taking part in the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours over the weekend, causing them to miss out.
While the two races don’t directly clash, the endurance event will take up the majority of the weekend at a time when drivers are preparing for the resumption of racing in Austria in three weeks.
Leclerc’s absence means Russell has won the unofficial drivers’ championship, having held a 24-point lead over the Ferrari driver, following three consecutive wins. Russell, Albon and Latifi will still be joined by Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly, both making their second appearances. Gasly is also taking part in the Le Mans event over the weekend.
Celebrity entries for the finale at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve include Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil driving for AlphaTauri and former skier Jon Olsson for Red Bull.
Guanyu Zhou — winner of the opening race in Bahrain — will return for Renault, as will Callum Ilott for Ferrari and David Schumacher for Racing Point. Haas is again running reserve drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz.
The event takes place at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, and will be broadcast live on ESPN platforms as well as on F1’s official YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels.
From a Le Mans point of view, Norris will be paired with Max Verstappen for the endurance classic, while the likes of Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist and Rubens Barrichello are also taking part.