Charles Leclerc, Alexander Albon and George Russell join Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi on the grid for Formula 1’s second Virtual Grand Prix, with cricket star Ben Stokes also joining the line-up.

Following the inaugural F1 Virtual Grand Prix, hosted when the Bahrain GP would have taken place two weeks ago won by Renault test and reserve driver Guanyu Zhou, the Esports event is back to take place when the first-ever Vietnam GP would have been run before the coronavirus pandemic forced the delay to the start of the 2020 season.

F1 has been able to secure five current drivers to take part in the second race with Ferrari’s Leclerc, Red Bull’s Albon and Williams’ Russell joining Norris and Latifi who took part in the first race.

Red Bull has called on the services of Cricket World Cup winner and Red Bull athlete Stokes in the absence of Max Verstappen.

Bahrain Virtual GP winner Zhou will not return for the second race, with Renault naming academy driver Christian Lundgaard and Australian Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner as its pairing.

Ex-F1 driver Jonny Herbert also returns for the second race having competed for Alfa Romeo in the Bahrain opener, while the full grid is set to be announced over the coming days.

With the Vietnam GP track not available on the 2019 F1 video game, the race will be contested around Australia’s Albert Park circuit and will take place on Sunday April 5 at 8pm BST. The event will be broadcast on F1’s YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, plus selected TV broadcasters, covering qualifying and a half-distance 28-lap race.

All drivers will run equal car performance with pre-set setups and reduced vehicle damage. After the event a special F1 Esports Pro exhibition race will take place.

“Following the massive success of the F1 Esports Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix, we are thrilled to be able to come back online again this weekend to providefans with some racing action,” Julian Tan, head of F1’s digital business initiatives and esports, said.

“A star-studded grid is shaping up with our F1 stars - past, present and future – as well as huge names in sports and entertainment.

“We look forward to providing some light relief through esports as we all navigate through these difficult times together, where our fans can engage with our sport in a different but familiar way.”

 

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