Virtual Vietnam GP: The Leclerc brothers plus Tonizza and Bonito to race for Ferrari
Ferrari is entering a quartet of aces in the Virtual Vietnam GP, which takes place on Sunday 5 April at 21.00 CET, with two separate races. Running under the FDA Hublot Esports Team banner, the part of the Ferrari Driver Academy given over to virtual racing, will be the Leclerc brothers, Charles and Arthur, alongside professional sim racers, David Tonizza, the F1 Esports Series reigning world champion and Enzo Bonito, who recently joined the Maranello squad. The event will be broadcast by Formula 1 on their YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels as well as on Ferrari’s FDAFans channel on Facebook.
Show. The Covid-19 pandemic has shut down all forms of motorsport around the world and Formula 1 is no exception. So, with the majority of countries enforcing a lockdown, to avoid the spread of the virus, Formula 1 decided to put on an entertaining show for the fans and on 22 March, it launched the “We Race On” initiative. On the Sunday when we should have been racing in Bahrain, it organised the Virtual Bahrain GP and this weekend we have the Virtual Vietnam GP, when twenty drivers from a variety of racing backgrounds will race each other using the series’ official game (F1 2019). As the Hanoi street circuit is a new venue and therefore did not feature on the game, the Vietnamese round will actually be played on the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne, home to the Australian GP.
Two races. There will be two races on Sunday. The first is for real racers, along with TV commentators and various celebrities. Competing for FDA Hublot Esports Team will be Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc, a former student of the Academy, who finished fourth in the 2019 championship with two wins and seven pole positions and his brother Arthur, newly recruited to the Ferrari young drivers programme, on the strength of his excellent showing last season in the ADAC Formel 4 championship. The race will be run over 28 laps and to help level the playing field, given the different degrees of experience, the cars will have identical set-up and performance and the amount of damage that can be done to the cars will be limited.
Sim drivers. Then, at 22.30 CET it will be the turn of the professional Esports driver with the aforementioned Tonizza and Bonito flying the flag for FDA Hublot Esports Team. The 14 lap exhibition race will be an exercise in pure Esports, with cars being damaged if they are involved in incidents and their set-up being tuneable by the sim drivers.
How to see the Virtual Vietnam GP:
Five F1 Drivers Line Up For Second Virtual Grand Prix!
Current Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi have all confirmed their participation for the second instalment of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix this weekend.
The F1 quintet will be joined by former driver Johnny Herbert, who finished 13th in the inaugural race in Bahrain, as well as a host of other stars including England’s Cricket World Cup Winner, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Red Bull Athlete Ben Stokes, with more names set to be announced in the coming days.
This weekend’s virtual Grand Prix is the second race in the new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, which gives fans the chance to watch Formula 1 races virtually, despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
This weekend’s Grand Prix will take place on the Albert Park track, traditionally used for the Australian Grand Prix, on the weekend originally scheduled for Hanoi’s inaugural Street Circuit race in Vietnam.
The Vietnam circuit is currently not available on the 2019 official F1 video game so drivers will show off their skills on the Albert Park circuit. Drivers will join the race remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena from 8:00pm (BST) on Sunday April 5.
The broadcast which will be available on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, is expected to run for 1 hour 30 minutes, with a qualifying period where grid positions will be determined based on the drivers’ fastest lap time, followed by a 28-lap race.
The Virtual Grand Prix will also be broadcast live with international broadcast partners including in the UK on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event. 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.
After the virtual Vietnam Grand Prix is over, a special F1 Esports Pro Exhibition race featuring esports gamers will follow from 9:30pm (BST). The broadcast will be available on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels as well as selected TV broadcasters and is expected to run for 1 hour.