Five current Formula 1 drivers have confirmed that they will be taking part in the second F1 eSports Virtual Grand Prix this weekend.
Scuderia Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull Racing‘s Alexander Albon, Williams Racing‘s George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, as well as McLaren F1 Team‘s Lando Norris will take part in the event.
The series has taken the place of the real life races which have had to be postponed due to the international coronavirus outbreak, with racing hopefully set to get underway in August, during the period when the sport would usually have it’s summer shutdown.
The F1 stars will also be joined by former driver Johnny Herbert, who finished in thirteenth place in the first race of the series in Bahrain, as well as England cricketer Ben Stokes. Others who will be taking part will be announced in the following days.
The race will be held on Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, which usually hosts the opening race of the season; the weekend was initially planned to hold the first Vietnam Grand Prix. F1 2019, the platform to host the race, does not include the Hanoi track, so Australia has been used as a substitute.
The event will be broadcast from the Gfinity eSports Arena from 8.00pm (BST) on Sunday, 5 April. The broadcast will be able to be viewed on the official Formula 1 YouTube channel, Twitch, and Facebook account.
It is expected to last for one hour and thirty minutes, with grid positions decided by a qualifying period, followed by a 28-lap race. It will also be broadcast internationally, and by Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event in the UK.
To ensure competition is fair, the game will be set up so that cars have equal performance and default setups, reduced damage and optional driver assists, including anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with sim racing.
An eSports Pro Exhibition race will be held after the virtual grand prix, starting at 9.30pm, being broadcast on the official F1 social channels and Twitch, and by selected TV broadcasters.
Head of digital business initiatives and eSports, Julian Tan, said: “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 provide fans with some racing action.
“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.”