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Formula 1 announced today it will replacing its lost race weekends with "virtual" Grands Prix to fill the void caused by the ongoing spread of coronavirus, using its official video game, F1 2019. The races will take place on the same weekends as the original GPs, and be run on the same tracks. They'll also feature real F1 drivers.

The first virtual race is happening this Sunday, March 22, at Bahrain. According to F1, it'll have a selection of current drivers race against "a host of stars" that have yet to be announced. That means we could see racers from different disciplines, retired drivers, or stars from the esports arena do battle with your favorite F1 drivers.

Obviously, all the drivers will race remotely to ensure everyone's safety. This first race will run at 50-percent length, or 28 laps, with a qualifying period beforehand. And even if your favorite driver isn't familiar with virtual competition, F1 says they'll be able to stay up to speed. From the release:

Due to the wide variety of gaming skill levels amongst the drivers, game settings will be configured in such a way to encourage competitive and entertaining racing. This includes running equal car performance with fixed setups, reduced vehicle damage, and optional anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with the game.
Of course, these races aren't for actual Formula 1 championship points. They're just being run for entertainment purposes until the real-world season can get underway. For now, that means in addition to Bahrain, the Chinese, Vietnam, Dutch, Spanish, and Monaco Grands Prix will be run virtually, without championship points given. On non-race weekends, F1 will be hosting exhibition races where fans can go head-to-head against real Formula 1 drivers.

F1 will be streaming the events live on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and F1.com.

NOTE: As far as I can tell 20:00 GMT is 8 PM in NJ.
 

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I thought it strange that Lando - the most experienced home video game driver of the F1 field had the most technical issues. Once he came back in he was killing it however (best lap of the race a few times).

I also saw some virtual Australian race happen a day or two before? Both were "official" F1 with guest driver events?

I think they were using different platforms of 2019 F1. The graphics did not look the same. Was Australia perhaps PS4 or XBOX and the Bahrain on a PC?
 

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I thought the race provided for good laughs. Did anyone watch the NASCAR race at Homestead? Now that race had a real good finish.

Later,
Eldon
 
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