Formula 1’s new Esports Virtual Grand Prix series begins today with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series will run as replacements to the postponed rounds of the 2020 season, with all teams and drivers invited to take part. The first race takes place tonight at 20:00 GMT local time and is being live-streamed. The event will feature a 28-lap race on Codemasters F1 2019 game around the Bahrain International Circuit.

F1 has pulled together names from a variety of backgrounds, from music star Liam Payne to six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy to regular F1 drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi.

Drivers confirmed for the Virtual Bahrain GP:

Mercedes: Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez
Ferrari: Robert Shwartzman, Dino Beganovic
Red Bull: Chris Hoy, Philip Eng
McLaren: Lando Norris, Nic Hamilton
Renault: Ian Poulter, Guanyu Zhou
AlphaTauri: Luca Salvadori, Sadokist
Racing Point: Jimmy Broadbent, Nico Hulkenberg
Alfa Romeo: Cyanide, Johnny Herbert
Haas: Anthony Davidson, Redeye
Williams: Nicholas Latifi, Liam Payne

Despite being an avid sim racer, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen confirmed to Ziggosport that he will not particpate.

“I don’t play that game and I would have to adapt to it,” he said.

“That would take a few days, and that doesn’t make much sense as I’m busy with other things, other games. I would have to switch too much, and that doesn’t work.

“I would be running around the back, and I don’t enjoy that.”

With F1 launching its new Esports Virtual Grand Prix series with the Bahrain GP, run when the actual race was scheduled to take place before the coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be postponed, the sport hopes to fill the void of action using its video game activities.

 

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