Formula 1 Goes Online Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak
Pandemic resulted in the suspension of the F1 championship. In order not to upset the fans, the organizers decided to hold a series of virtual races in the F1 2019 video game.
On March 22, the first virtual race was held — the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix. Of the first eight stages of Formula 1, Grand Prix in Australia and Monaco were canceled. The Grand Prix of Bahrain, China, Vietnam, Netherlands, Spain and Azerbaijan was postponed indefinitely, so the virtual races will be held on the same dates as the real ones.
The Virtual Grand Prix was attended by pilots of the current World Cup, former Formula 1 racers, athletes from youth series, professional e-sportsmen and guest stars. For example, cyclist Christopher Hoy, golfer Ian Poulter and singer Liam Payne.
It was originally planned to race 28 laps (this is half the real distance), but due to technical problems, the distance was reduced to 14 laps. The first to finish line was the test pilot of the Renault team, Guang Yu Zhou. Jimmy Broadbent became the best among esports athletes: he finished fourth.
The cyber race was streaming in official Formula 1 accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch, with more than 395 thousand viewers at the beginning of the race.