F1 has relayed information about the China Virtual GP round where six current drivers will return as Real Madrid goalie Thibaut Courtois joins as well.
After the success with Bahrain and Vietnam rounds, the F1 Virtual GP will return this weekend for the China weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit, with six from the current grid of the 2020 season continuing on to compete.
It includes Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi, Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon and Williams’ duo Nicholas Latifi & George Russell. Among others, only Courtois has been named to race for Red Bull.
The Belgian footballer has been a regular in the ESports side, especially with the F1 racers, who are also conducting a charity event under Race for the World name. The remaining set of drivers will be revealed as they get closer to the event on Sunday.
Unlike the previous two rounds, F1 has paid attention to its Asian/Australian viewers and brought forward the event to 18:00 BST start, which is two hours before the last round’s race. They will air the race on YouTube, Twitch, Weibo and Facebook channels.
Like the previous time, broadcasters like Sky Sports and ESPN will also play out the Virtual GP for fans watching on TV. The weekend will see the continuation of the F1 Esports Pro Exhibition race as well, which will take place before the main event at 17:00 BST.
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said: “From an esports perspective, the last Virtual GP was one of our most successful events we’ve ever put on, so it’s great to be back and be able to continue building something that has proven hugely popular.
“It’s very important to us that we can give our fans something to look forward in these uncertain times, so to see such an impressive list of returning drivers is fantastic. We hope the racing action is just as thrilling and fun as last time out!”
UPDATE: Further names were confirmed for the race including Ferrari naming Callum Ilott as Leclerc’s partner, while Juan Manuel Correa is to make his Virtual GP debut alongside Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo. It will be his first appearance on F1 side of things.
Racing Point also noted that Anthony Davidson and Jimmy Broadbent will continue to represent their team. The confirmation on seventh F1 racer was made with Carlos Sainz joining the fray alongside Norris to make it a solid addition.
Meanwhile, Renault announced the return of Bahrain winner Guanyu Zhou with golfer Ian Poulter being alongside him. At the same time, AlphaTauri named Red Bull junior Liam Lawson and footballer Ciro Immobile as their entrants.
UPDATE 2: The remaining four drivers for F1 Virtual GP were confirmed as well with Mercedes continuing with Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez, while Haas keeping Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz.
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More names will be added as they come