Virtual Grand Prix series returns for 2021 with F1 drivers past and present


A three-round Virtual Grand Prix championship will see F1 drivers compete before the start of the 2021 season


Formula 1 is reviving its Virtual Grand Prix series for 2021, with a three-round championship before the racing season begins.

Current F1 drivers will battle with grand prix veterans on the 20-car grid, with each race making up a mini title race for the first time.

Last year esports filled the void after Covid forced the shutdown of racing until summer. F1’s official Virtual Grand Prix series attracted more than 30m viewers who watched the likes of Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and George Russell compete wheel-to-wheel online.

Drivers streamed themselves online as they raced and commentated on their progress, giving fans an unprecedented insight into F1’s stars away from the track.

Although there was no official results table, Russell was the undisputed victor over eight races, claiming four wins.

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Last year’s races saw plenty of action between the evenly-matched cars and the 2021 series promises even more, with the introduction of five-lap sprint races to decide the grid for the 50 per cent race distance virtual grands prix.

The championship begins on January 31, with racing on the following two weekends.

Formula 1 drivers will be joined by celebrities and gamers who take part in F1’s esports series and teams will accrue points that will decide the winners of the prize fund, which will go to charities of their choice.

“2020 was a tough year for everyone, but we look forward to bringing fans more excitement in 2021, starting with the return of the Virtual Grands Prix,” said Julian Tan, head of esports at F1.

“We welcome back some of the faces that made it such a special experience last year, and invite some new ones too, all in the name of charity.”