Formula 1 to replace postponed races with virtual grand prix series

Tanya Simon
March 31, 2020

Formula 1 has replaced every postponed Grand Prix with its new esports alternative the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, featuring some of the sport's current drivers.The initiative, now set to run till May, will see current F1 drivers and special guests compete in the series in order to retain fan engagement during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Formula One has added three races to its upcoming list of coronavirus-related cancellations, including the marquee Monaco Grand Prix that was scheduled for May 24.

The Grand Prix should have been held in Zandvoort on the first weekend in May, with Spain following a week later and Monaco at the end of the month.

To ensure the drivers' safety, they will join the races remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena. Called the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, the event will see the current line-up of drivers compete until May in games of F1 2019 on PC.

No official World Championship points will be on offer, with the series strictly for entertainment.

For new venues not on the latest game, such as Vietnam, other circuits will be raced on instead.

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Due to the differing levels of skill which will be involved game settings will be configured in such a way to encourage competitive and entertaining racing.

The grid will be a mixture of current Formula 1 drivers and "a host of stars" who will be announced ahead of the competition.

"Formula 1 and the FIA expect to begin the 2020 Championship season as soon as it's safe to do so after May and will continue to regularly monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation".

F1 managing director of motorsports and technical director Ross Brawn said of the matter to Sky Sports: "I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race".

After the Australian Grand Prix, F1 quickly cancelled the Bahrain, Vietnamese and Chinese races. That means all cars will be set to the same performance characteristics, vehicle damage will be reduced and anti-lock brakes and traction control will be optional.

The Automobile Club de Monaco revealed the information in a declaration that adhered to the information from F1 previously today that the race has actually been postponed in addition to the Dutch as well as Spanish occasions.

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