Amid the coronavirus concerns and worldwide cancellations of sports events, many organizers have found an alternative solution in esports.
One them is Formula 1, which announced the launching of the Virtual Grand Prix Series. The idea is to replace postponed real-world Formula 1 race with a Virtual Grand Prix race on the corresponding in-game track. Of course, this won't replace the real competition and will have no influence on the actual rankings. Instead, the primary purpose of the events will be entertainment and to give fans and drivers alike something to do and have fun while the season is on hold.
The official game is Codemasters' F1 2019(PC version), and game settings were "configured in such a way to encourage competitive and entertaining racing."
The first virtual race was held yesterday evening, and it was Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix, since the real-life race this weekend should have been in Bahrain. We saw some entertaining and wacky action on the virtual Sakhir. In the end, the winner was Guanyu Zhou, a Chinese Formula 2 driver, representing Renault in this competition.
The biggest disappointment was withdrawing of Lando Norris, who had issues with his equipment at home, at was replaced with a bot. Lando is a professional F1 driver for McLaren, but also an avid esports fan, and a regular Twitch streamer, where he likes to play iRacing and PUBG.
Besides professional drivers, other personalities took part in the race, like the famous esports host ReDeYe, golfer Ian Poulter, singer Liam Payne, former track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, and others.
If you missed the event last night and you would like to watch it, here's the full VOD.