As any Formula 1 fan will know, the 2020 series of races have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the races aren’t gone entirely – they’re instead being played using the official Codemasters’ F1 2019 game on PC instead.
As announced on the official Formula 1 blog (thanks to Kotaku for spotting it!), the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series is set to allow fans to keep watching races while the actual races are postponed.
The F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix will feature both current F1 drivers and a host of stars remotely joining the races from the comfort of their own homes.
The Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix has seen “music artist Liam Payne, professional golfer Ian Poulter and six-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy” (as per the official Codemasters blog) going head-to-head with actual F1 drivers.
At the time of publishing, the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix has already been held in all of its digital glory, and you can watch it in its entirety by following the link here.
To make things more fair, the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix will see its game settings configured to fit the gaming skill set of each driver. The official F1 blog says that this “includes running equal car performance with fixed setups, reduced vehicle damage, and optional anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with the game.”
Of course, at the end of the day, these races are just for fun and for fans to get their fill of F1 action while being safe at home. The F1 blog stresses that there are no official World Championship points up for grabs, so you don’t have to worry about who actually wins.
If you want to check out the races yourself, they’re all set to run in place of every postponed Grand Prix. You can tune in for yourself on the official F1 YouTube channel.
These F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix will also be broadcast live with international broadcast partners, including Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event, and Sky Sports Mix in the UK.
Just note that Grand Prix tracks unavailable in F1 2019 will be replaced with an alternative Grand Prix, so don’t be too surprised if you tune into a race and wind up with another.
At the moment, the F1 Esports Virtual GP initiative is set to run until May, but may be extended further if the coronavirus pandemic results in further cancellations and postponements.
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If you start displaying symptoms of COVID-19, the smartest thing to do is to isolate yourself from others and remain at home until you recover. If you start feeling worse, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
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For any concerns regarding COVID-19, you can visit the World Health Organization website to check on the status of the outbreak and educate yourself on related issues.