Formula 1 to replace postponed races with virtual grand prix series

Max Verstappen at an Esports event
F1 driver Max Verstappen (right) regularly competes in simulation races away from the F1 track

Formula 1 has launched an esports grand prix series featuring current drivers to ensure fans can continue to follow the season virtually.

The ongoing coronavirus situation means on-track racing has been postponed until the end of May at the earliest.

The virtual races will run in place of every postponed grand prix, starting with a Bahrain Grand Prix this Sunday.

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

As well as featuring a number of the current F1 drivers, the first race - which takes places at 20:00 GMT - will also include a number of stars from the world of entertainment.

Lando Norris
McLaren driver Lando Norris has a computer racing simulator set up in his home

The first virtual GP on the Sakhir track will be a 50% length race with 28 laps and fans will be able to watch on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels.

Julian Tan, head of esports at Formula 1, said: "We are very pleased to be able to bring some light relief in the form of the F1 esports virtual GP, in these unpredictable times, as we hope to entertain fans missing the regular sporting action.

"With every major sports league in the world unable to compete, it is a great time to highlight the benefits of esports and the incredible skill that's on show."

Last Sunday, F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris took part in two separate virtual F1 races following the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

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