The coronavirus has brought the Formula One season to an abrupt halt, but that hasn’t stopped drivers from getting behind the virtual wheel and competing that way, even if it’s just in the name of fun.
This Sunday [22 March] saw several drivers don their race gear and go head-to-head in the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, using the 2019 PC version of the game and playing remotely. The first virtual race that took place was the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The virtual races, much like their real life counterparts, start with qualifying sessions to determine grid positions. Drivers then go on to take part in 28 lap races, half as many as the real-life grand prix, all from the comfort of their homes.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 22, 2020
As you might imagine, some drivers are more familiar with the Virtual Grand Prix series than others, which doesn’t make for a level playing ground. To ensure every driver is on the same level, drivers will use cars with the same performance and reduced vehicle damage, while newbies who have less experience can use traction control and anti-lock brakes.
A virtual race is scheduled to take place on each corresponding race weekend. On weekends without a scheduled race, fans will get a chance to compete against actual Formula 1 drivers in an exhibition race.