Motorsport, and the wider sporting world, remains shut down during the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s unlikely we’ll see anything in the way of action until July or August now, with Wimbledon the latest major casualty.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun and motorsport in particular is turning to the virtual world to entertain its millions of fans.
F1 hosted a virtual Bahrain Grand Prix a fortnight ago, which whilst enjoyable, came in for some criticism due to the lack of star drivers with celebrities filling much of the grid. NASCAR and IndyCar joined in too, with those two delivering some pretty spectacular races, the latter in particular showing how it should be done!
But F1 will take another stab at it this weekend with a virtual round to replace the Vietnam GP, albeit taking place on the Albert Park circuit…confusing, right?
When and where?
The event will take place on Sunday 5th at 20:00 GMT (15:00 EDT) and will be live-streamed from the Gfinity Esports Arena across several platforms, including F1’s official YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels. Sky Sports F1 will also be broadcasting the event live (Sky channel 406, Virgin channel 506) as well as some of F1’s other international broadcasters.
The event will consist of a qualifying session and a 28-lap (50% distance) race at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit – this is because the Hanoi circuit doesn’t yet feature in the official Codemasters Formula 1 game, which is the software that will be used for the race.
The game settings will be fixed to ensure equal car performance, reduced vehicle damage, as well as optional anti-lock brakes and traction control.
This race has already attracted an improved line-up when compared to the Bahrain round, with Charles Leclerc, Alexander Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi joining Nicholas Latifi and Lando Norris, the latter proving to be a major star a fortnight ago with his hilarious calls to fellow drivers asking for advice.
Returning drivers include F1 pundit and former drivers Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson, Haas test drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz, plus YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent.
2009 Champion Jenson Button returns to McLaren as Norris’ team-mate, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez racing for Mercedes.
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|Mercedes||Stoffel Vandoorne||Esteban Gutierrez|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Arthur Leclerc|
|Red Bull||Alexander Albon||Ben Stokes|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Jenson Button|
|Renault||Christian Lundgaard||Andre Heimgartner|
|Racing Point||Anthony Davidson||Jimmy Broadbent|
|Alfa Romeo||Antonio Giovinazzi||Johnny Herbert|
|Haas||Pietro Fittipaldi||Louis Deletraz|
|Williams||George Russell||Nicholas Latifi|
*AlphaTauri will race as Toro Rosso