Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2020

Leclerc, Albon and Russell boost Virtual Grand Prix grid to five current drivers

2020 F1 season

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is among the five current Formula 1 drivers who will participate in this weekend’s Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix.

The race will take place on Australia’s Albert Park circuit as the Hanoi street track is not available in the official Formula 1 game F1 2019.

Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and Williams driver George Russell will also join Nicholas Latifi and Lando Norris, who were the only two current F1 drivers who drove in the original Virtual Grand Prix.

Other former F1 drivers confirmed for the race so far include Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson. Cricketer Ben Stokes will join Red Bull’s line-up and Renault will run junior driver Christian Lundgaard alongside Australian Supercars racer Andre Heimgartner.

The 28-lap race will take place at 8pm GMT/3pm EDT on Sunday. As was the case for the first race, drivers will be allowed to use driving assistance such as anti-lock brakes and traction control, and car damage will be reduced.

The Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix will be streamed live on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook and via some of F1’s international broadcasters.

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2020 Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix drivers

Interview: How Codemasters are trying to get more F1 drivers into Virtual GPs
Team Driver
Mercedes TBC
Mercedes TBC
Ferrari Charles Leclerc
Ferrari Arthur Leclerc
Red Bull Alexander Albon
Red Bull Ben Stokes
McLaren Lando Norris
McLaren TBC
Renault Christian Lundgaard
Renault Andre Heimgartner
Alpha Tauri TBC
Alpha Tauri TBC
Racing Point Anthony Davidson
Racing Point Jimmy Broadbent
Alfa Romeo Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo Johnny Herbert
Haas Pietro Fittipaldi
Haas Louis Deletraz
Williams George Russell
Williams Nicholas Latifi

This list will be updated as further drivers are announced..

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2020 F1 season

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Leclerc, Albon and Russell boost Virtual Grand Prix grid to five current drivers”

  1. Let’s hope they can add even more F1 drivers for the next races.

    1. @paeschli But quite unlikely. The most likely ones who might be willing to get involved are the rest of the younger generation, but one of them already ruled out taking part in this virtual-series.

    2. +1 maybe they can add some retired drivers into mix as well.

  2. ColdFly (@)
    2nd April 2020, 10:40

    I’d rather see (recent) ex F1 drivers than cricket or golf players.
    I’m talking Chandhok, Davidson, Di Resta, Rosberg and Button rather than Brundle, Hill, Herbert, or Jordan.
    Those guys had blocked out their weekends anyway.

    1. Get Mansell in there too. There are YouTube videos of him being excellent at sims.

  3. This makes it slightly more interesting for me. The whole virtual thing annoys me a little (which makes me feel old!) as it’s just no substitute and I have no interest in watching people play games.

    At least if becomes mostly real drivers it has some draw and feels a little more like Formula One.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. Although I will mention that last week’s Indycar event in iRacing was somewhat decent. Probably because it had the majority of the grid taking part, as well as it being in iRacing which is the most sim of sims.

  4. @ben-n Same same here mate.

  5. Might be a stupid question but why dumb it down by reducing car damage and giving ABS and Traction control.

    Don’t these guys use sims pretty much every day?

    1. They said it was to try and balance out the different abilities, I imagine the traction control settings is more for the celebrity drivers.

      The damage is probably because people take more risks in game/sims so they need to avoid a big crash, specifically the first corner, taking out most the field.

      It’s a shame that damage can’t be turned on after a few laps, then the top drivers could get clear first and race properly.

      1. I also believe it’s because they don’t all have the top best gear available at home

      2. The only reason damage is off is probably just to prevent a famous driver dropping out of the race early or having half of the field be dnf in the first turn.

        That being said the biggest mystery to me is why is Johnny Herbert still there. He basically made a big joke of the last event by cutting the first corner by a mile to overtake almost all other cars.

    2. @dbradock They will use the teams simulator at the factory but I saw somewhere not long ago that quite a few of the F1 drivers don’t do sim-racing at home at don’t have things like wheel/pedal setups. And then you have some that do (Verstappen for instance) who just don’t want to drive on F1 2019 because it isn’t a proper sim so they don’t play it.

      I know that Raikkonen doesn’t even like using the team simulator & I think I saw that Hamilton only runs the Mercedes sim when he’s told he absolutely has to in order to try something specific.

  6. I can’t be bothered.

    Unless…. they make a microphone/headset mandatory for all drivers and make them join a Discord or Teamspeak (whatever) channel. … and broadcast that. Live taunting swearing shouting banter…
    That would bump up entertainment value a lot.
    Maybe enough to actually watch.

    1. OK, thought about it, I’d watch then..

      Imagine lap 1 done and Russel is somewhere at the back. That has to induce some comedic gold from Norris.

  7. If the 2020 season will not materialise — which is not unimaginable — then at least F1 could have a virtual world champion by granting Championship points to both team and driver at every virtual grand prix. This will help both teams and drivers to take this alternative route seriously, which in turn will give exposure to their sonsors.

    1. I hope the team’s don’t take it any more seriously than simply as some PR to keep fans entertained. It is not a substitute and no kudos whatsoever should be afforded to the person that is best at a game. There is no major skill, no danger, no thrill. I can’t drive a Formula One car, I can very easily play the game; this is not comparable to the World Championship in any way.

  8. Two brothers and the Williams team mates going head to head.. I like it :)

    I think Johnny Herbert is back again also. And probably Jensen Button too, which makes it interesting from a familiar names point of view.

    I’ve never watched Sims before but I am finding it fascinating to see how drivers like Max and Lando can transfer there skills to the virtual format and often beat the pro sim racers.

    Watching onboards with Max makes you realize just what makes him so good in general and in sim racing he’s only using less than 50% of his full skill set (I’d imagine).

    Of course it’s no substitute for the real thing but in the current situation it’s a great substitute.

    Are there any other sports where the skills transfer to the virtual world so well? Playing FIFA and playing real soccer probably being the best example of a sport where one skillset has no bearing on the other.

    1. wbravenboer
      2nd April 2020, 20:45

      Watch the Team RedLine streams, yesterday was a fun race on Interlagos. Lando and Max going at it, Lando was making small mistakes (I didn’t see them) and Max was incredibly consistent. Awesome drivers in the field and after the race a small evaluation. Max is streaming too! He is getting a web-cam soon and a new pc, as he also crashed his pc yesterday…
      iRacing is really very serious e-racing, no driving aids, damage on and a very strict penalty system.
      Although I like F1’s efforts, but most ‘real’ F1 drivers don’t play sims, so for them a more ‘arcade’ like F1 2019 is better.

  9. Great. Can we have only those 5 race and no YouTubers, Celebrities, Influencers, Content Creators or Feeder Series drivers?

    1. @kuvemar I couldn’t agree more with you. Not that I’d care massively, but these virtual-races should only feature drivers (and other people) who actually know how to drive racing-cars, i.e., real-life racing drivers, not all the world’s Youtubers (except for those who can drive properly), celebs, other sports-athletes. etc. Nothing personal against them, though.

  10. Do you mean 8PM GMT, or 8 PM BST? 8PM GMT doesn’t line up with 4PM EDT.

    1. Err, 8PM GMT does line up with 4PM EDT, not 3PM EDT. Time travel is hard!

  11. They cant get a majority of the actual grid to play…
    They cant even get the real map to match the track…

    You guys are embarassing yourself. Might as well play a game of battlefield4… i might watch that.

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