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PREVIEW: F1 ESPORTS AUSTRALIAN VIRTUAL GP

4 April 2020

The 2nd official F1 esports Virtual Grand Prix will take place this Sunday, as new Formula 1 drivers get set to join the online grid.

Formula 1 continues to replace cancelled Grand Prix events with virtual races. The move is sure to please fans of the sport who were introduced to the serious online world of racing on March 22nd, as they watched Guanyu Zhou overcome fierce competition, and take a well-deserved victory in a thrilling Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix.

With the sport approaching its third cancelled race, the Formula 1 team are making their final preparations for a virtual Sunday behind the wheel, at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit – as the Vietnam circuit where the live event was going to originally held, is currently unavailable on the official F1 2019 video game.

Line-up

The Melbourne Virtual Grand Prix welcomes back Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi for their second virtual race, with the former being kept busy through last Sunday’s official #ChallangeLando virtual competition.

Alongside the duo, Ferrari’s boy wonder Charles Leclerc, newly promoted Red Bull driver Alex Albon, and Williams’ golden boy George Russell, take to their home setups to join in the action this Sunday.

The five Formula 1 drivers will be racing for their respective teams and be joined by former driver and fan favourite Johnny Herbert, England cricket hero Ben Stokes, Haas F1 Team Reserve Driver Pietro Fittipaldi and other notable personalities linked to F1 and the racing esports scene.

Meet the F1 Drivers

Lando Norris – Lando Norris enjoyed 2019 as his first Formula 1 season as a racing driver competing for McLaren. A winner of numerous racing series’, Lando exceeded expectations as he drove alongside tested teammate Carlos Sainz, to secure 4th place Constructors Championship finish for McLaren. While suffering more than his fair share of bad luck throughout the season, Lando has still managed to not only impress everyone on the grid with his incredible driving but also gain a massive esports following. His many loyal fans tune in to his frequent online racing live stream sessions where he is often joined by other Formula 1 drivers.

Nicholas Latifi – Contracted to replace Robert Kubica at Williams for the 2020 season, Nicholas Latifi is new to Formula 1. Although his skills haven’t yet been put to the test behind the wheel of a real F1 car, fans of the sport will know that the Canadian driver’s Formula 2 credentials speak for themselves. Now racing his second F1 esports Virtual Grand Prix, Latifi will be looking to get himself further up the field, following his 6th place Bahrain finish.

Charles Leclerc – Ferrari’s new boy for 2019, Charles Leclerc spent his debut season with the Italian outfit wowing the entire grid. Seemingly finding himself in his element from the start of the season, Leclerc immediately turned his harshest critics into die-hard fans, with excellent displays of defiant drives. Dedicating his first-ever Grand Prix win in Belgium to his lifelong friend Anthoine Hubert, who had sadly passed away over that weekend, Leclerc immediately became a Ferrari legend n the following race by winning the Italian Grand Prix in front of a home crowd. Outscoring his 4-time championship teammate on his second season in F1, Leclerc promises to not only be the future of Ferrari, but the future of Formula 1.

Alex Albon – Starting off his rollercoaster debut season in F1 behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso, Albon got the call for promotion into the Red Bull car midway through the season, and hasn’t looked back since. While the previous driver, Pierre Gasly, struggled with the pressure that comes with a Red Bull drive, Albon thrived. During his first race with Red Bull at the Belgium Grand Prix, Albon gave the grid a taste of what to expect. Starting last, the British racing driver charged through the traffic to secure an extraordinary 5th place finish. With Albon coming heartbreakingly close to achieving his first podium in 2019, it’s only a matter of time before the Red Bull driver takes the grid by the horns, and earns himself a pole position finish.

George Russell – British racing driver George Russell is considered one of the hottest prospects in Formula 1. Although having what many would call a difficult first season racing with the underperforming Williams car, George Russell’s achievements through the different divisions of Formula 1 are some of the most coveted within the sport. Winning at every level of the sport, Russell has claimed both the 2018 Drivers championship in FIA Formula 2 and the 2017 GP3 Series Drivers’ championship.

How to watch the Melbourne Virtual Grand Prix

The Melbourne Virtual Grand Prix will be available this Sunday 5th, broadcasted live from the Gfinity Esports Arena from 8:00 pm CEST. Streams to tune into the action will be available on all Formula 1 channels including, F1.com, Formula 1 YouTube, F1 Twitch and Formula 1 Facebook.

The event itself is expected to run for around one and a half hours, with spectators able to enjoy live commentary throughout qualifying, as well as a 28-lap race around the virtual Albert Park Circuit, in Melbourne, Australia.

Drivers will be joining in the action from their remote setups all around the world and will be racing with game settings configured to ensure that participants will have equal performance settings on their virtual cars.

The Virtual Grand Prix will also be available to be viewed through live broadcast with international broadcast partners including Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix.

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