F1 drivers to stage virtual reality races

Tanya Simon
March 23, 2020

The three-time grand prix victor crashed his Alfa Romeo through a trackside barrier in qualifying and then, from 16th on the grid, propelled himself into the lead of the race coming out of the first corner.

Esports regular Norris experienced technical problems with his sim system at home, leaving him unable to take part in qualifying before the computer AI 'bot took over his auto for the first part of the race.

On the same day the floodlit race should have taken place in the Sakhir desert before the wave of postponements amid the coronavirus pandemic, F1's teams were represented by a mix of current and former drivers, rising stars, and other celebrities as they raced against each other remotely on the F1 2019 PC game.

The Formula 1 season meanwhile has yet to get underway, with the first six races of the season either postponed or cancelled altogether.

"I would like to reassure our fans that, should we be forced to cancel either Grand Prix, all customers who have purchased a ticket will be given the option of a full refund". F1 intends to hold every cancelled GP online, starting with today's virtual Grand Prix Bahrain.

While no official World Championship points will be on offer, the drivers will no doubt take the challenge seriously, with reputations at stake. The race is expected to run for 90 minutes, with a qualifying period where grid positions will be determined based on the drivers' fastest lap time.

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"This includes running equal auto performance with fixed setups, reduced vehicle damage, and optional anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with the game".

"Super Sim Saturday" sees three virtual races in quick succession - the Nuerburgring Endurance Series, IMSA Super Sebring and THE RACE All-Stars Esports Battle.

McLaren's Lando Norris and Williams's Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi are in a "Not the BAH GP" at 1800GMT on Sunday organised by Veloce Esports that also features Real Madrid soccer goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and golfer Ian Poulter.

"I love cars, I love Formula One, I love everything about motorsport", the Briton told Sky Sports television from his home in Florida, where he has a simulator in his garage.

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