It's not surprising that the COVID-19 situation has taken its toll on F1 racing too, but if there's a silver lining to be found, it's surely Formula 1's launch of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series on Codemasters' F1 2019 and featuring a number of stars yet be announced.
The F1 Virtual Grand Prix series isn't a replacement for the actual races - it is merely the means to provide F1 fans with entertainment regardless of any schedule changes caused by the health crisis.
"The virtual races will run in place of every postponed Grand Prix, starting this weekend with the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March 22. Every subsequent race weekend will see the postponed real-world Formula 1 race replaced with a Virtual Grand Prix, with the initiative currently scheduled to run until May", F1 wrote.
The first F1 Virtual Grand Prix kicks off on Sunday, 22 March 20 at 8:00pm GMT. Formula 1 will be announcing the stars soon enough, each of whom will join the race remotely from the Gfinity Esports Arena.
With the first virtual GP on the Sakhir track set at 50 per cent length and 28 laps, the running time is estimated at somewhere around 1.5 hours. You can watch the fun via Formula 1's official YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels.
Formula 1's head of esports Julian Tan 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."
"We're excited to be a part of the new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series. With sporting events currently on hold around the world, it’s great that the official F1® video game can help fill the void by bringing together an exciting line-up of talent to race online during the postponed race weekends. It’s going to be competitive, action-packed, and a lot of fun for everyone involved", said Codemasters' CEO Frank Sagnier.
You can find the official announcement on the Formula 1 website .