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Formula 1 Brings Esports Alternative for Postponed Races

Well, the inevitable finally happened. After supporting Veloce Esports for the sim version of the Australian GP and seeing drivers take part in iRacing events, Formula 1 has announced it's launching its own alternative. The F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series will run in place of the postponed real-life races, on the same dates, starting with the Bahrain GP this weekend.
Official poster for the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix 5 photos
No points for this one, but McLaren are happyMax Verstappen wins the 1st heat in the Not Australian GPVerstappen wins 2nd race of iRacing eventNorris and Verstappen racing in iRacing event
The virtual events will be using the latest Formula 1 official video game, F1 2019, developed by Codemasters, and will extend beyond May if the real racing doesn't start by then. Races that are part of the 2020 calendar but weren't featured in the 2019 calendar, such as the Vietnamese Grand Prix in Hanoi and the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort, are obviously not present in the game and will be replaced with other virtual races.

"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", said Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports for Formula 1.

All current F1 teams were invited to enter their drivers for the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix on March 22, which will be raced at 50% length (28 laps), but at this point, there's no official list of drivers who are definitely in. We don't expect Max Verstappen and Lando Norris to skip this opportunity since they've been quite active on the sim scene lately.

Julian Tan has stated that "young motorsports stars and other wider sports stars", as well as other participants would be brought on board to fill any gaps in the roster. Since not everybody that will be taking part in these virtual races is as used to PC sims as Verstappen and Norris, the F1 2019 game will be configured to level the playing field, including equal car performance and fixed setups.

F1 has made it clear that this series is simply meant as entertainment for the fans. No points will be awarded to the drivers and no champions will be crowned. The Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix will be broadcast on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, as well as on

Formula 1 will also host exhibition events featuring fans and drivers on non-race weekends, with details to come over the next weeks.


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