Leclerc, Albon and Russell join the grid for this weekend’s F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix
Current Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi and Antonio Giovinazzi have all confirmed they will be on the grid for the second instalment of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series this weekend.
The six F1 stars will be joined by former driver Johnny Herbert, who finished 13th in the inaugural race in Bahrain, as well as a host of stars including England’s Cricket World Cup Winner, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Red Bull athlete Ben Stokes.
And it will be something of a family affair for Charles Leclerc, as his younger brother Arthur – a member of the Ferrari Driver Acadamy – will be racing alongside him for the FDA Hublot Esport Team.
At McLaren, current driver Norris will be joined by the 2009 World Champion and ex-McLaren racer Jenson Button, while Racing Point will be represented by former F1 driver Anthony Davidson, and sim racer Jimmy Broadbent.
Formula 2 driver Christian Lundgaard, and V8 Supercars high-flyer Andre Heimgartner will drive for Renault, while AlphaTauri will once again deploy pro motorcycle rider Luca Salvadori, alongside sim racer and YouTuber Nunzio Todisco, AKA NU89.
Virtual Grand Prix driver line-up
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|Alfa Romeo||Antonio Giovinazzi||Johnny Herbert|
|AlphaTauri||Luca Salvadori||Nunzio Todisco (AKA NU89)|
|FDA Hublot Esports Team||Charles Leclerc||Arthur Leclerc|
|Haas||Pietro Fittipaldi||Louis Delatraz|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Jenson Button|
|Mercedes||Stoffel Vandoorne||Esteban Gutierrez|
|Racing Point||Anthony Davidson||Jimmy Broadbent|
|Red Bull||Alex Albon||Ben Stokes|
|Renault||Christian Lundgaard||Andrei Heimgartner|
|Williams||Nicholas Latifi||George Russell|
This weekend’s Virtual Grand Prix is the second race in the new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, designed to give fans the chance to watch some F1 racing action, despite the ongoing coronavirus situation.
The race will take place on the Albert Park track, home of the Australian Grand Prix, on the weekend originally scheduled for Hanoi’s inaugural street circuit race in Vietnam.
But with the Vietnam circuit `not currently available on the official F1 2019 video game, the drivers will instead show off their skills on the Melbourne track. Drivers will join the race remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena.
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How to watch
The broadcast will begin at 7:00pm UTC (8:00pm UK time) on Sunday April 5 and will be available on F1.com, and the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels.
It is expected to run for 1 hour 30 minutes, with a qualifying period where grid positions will be determined based on the drivers’ fastest lap time, followed by a 28-lap race. The Virtual Grand Prix will also be broadcast live with international broadcast partners including in the UK on Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix (Sky channel 145).
Due to the wide variety of gaming skill levels amongst the drivers, game settings will be configured in such a way to encourage competitive and entertaining racing. This includes running equal car performance with fixed setups, reduced vehicle damage, and optional anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with the game.
After the race is over, a special F1 Esports Pro Exhibition race featuring esports gamers will follow from 8.30pm UTC (9:30pm UK time). The broadcast will be available on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels as well as selected TV broadcasters and is expected to run for one hour.
Julian Tan, F1’s Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said: “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.
“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.”