Formula 1 has announced the launch of a Virtual Grand Prix Series that will replace postponed real-life events until further notice.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of grands prix in Australia and Monaco, and the postponement of Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Netherlands and Spain.
It has yet to be confirmed if and when the 2020 campaign will get underway.
On Friday Formula 1 announced that virtual races will run in place of each postponed grand prix, starting this weekend with the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix.
Formula 1 confirmed that “a number of current drivers” will take part alongside “a host of stars” to be announced in due course.
Each driver will join the race remotely with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena (or remotely if needed) at 20:00 on Sunday.
Participants will use the official Formula 1 2019 PC video game and races will be of 50 per cent duration, with the grid set by a brief qualifying session.
The game settings will be fixed to ensure equal car performance, reduced vehicle damage, as well as optional anti-lock brakes and traction control.
The broadcast will be available on Formula 1’s official Youtube, Twitch and Facebook channels.
On non-race weekends Formula 1 will be hosting online exhibition races – giving fans the chance to go head-to-head with drivers – and more details will be available in the coming days.
Circuits not available in the current game – Hanoi and Zandvoort – will be replaced by another location.
“We are very pleased to be able to bring some light relief in the form of the F1 Esports Virtual GP, in these unpredictable times, as we hope to entertain fans missing the regular sporting action,” said Julian Tan, Formula 1’s Head of Esports.
“With every major sports league in the world unable to compete, it is a great time to highlight the benefits of esports and the incredible skill that’s on show.”
Formula 1 clarified that no World Championship points will be on offer.