Formula 1 drivers Alex Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell, Nicholas Latifi, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc will be joined by football stars Sergio Aguero, Thibaut Courtois and Arthur Melo for this weekend’s Virtual Spanish Grand Prix.
Agüero, a four-time Premier League winner with Manchester City, will race for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing alongside Alex Albon, who won his first Virtual Grand Prix last weekend at Interlagos. The Argentinian forward will be putting his skills to the test against Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who returns for his second Virtual Grand Prix, this time for Alfa Romeo, and FC Barcelona’s Arthur Melo, who joins test driver Pietro Fittipaldi in representing the Haas F1 Team. Golfing icon, Ian Poulter, will make his third appearance for Renault, alongside F3 driver Max Fewtrell.
Sunday’s race will fall on the weekend originally scheduled for the Spanish Grand Prix and will take place at the virtual version of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on F1 2019, the official videogame developed by Codemasters. Drivers will join the race remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena from 6:00pm (BST) on Sunday May 10.
Last weekend’s Virtual Dutch Grand Prix reached 2.5 million views across F1’s digital platforms, meaning the four events so far have received a total 15.4m views on F1’s own channels. When combined with television estimates, 18.9m people have tuned in for the four races to date.
The broadcast will be available on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch, Weibo, Huya and Facebook channels and 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 33-lap race. The Virtual Grand Prix also be broadcast live with international broadcast partners in over 100 countries including in the UK on Sky Sports, in the US on ESPN, and FOX Sports Asia across Southeast Asia.
The F1 Esports Pro Exhibition race will precede the Virtual Grand Prix – and is set to begin at 5:00pm (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. The Formula 2 Virtual Racing event, featuring F2 and F3 drivers, will also be live on the same channels from 4:00pm (BST).
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said:
“This week sees one of the most exciting Virtual Grand Prix line-ups we’ve had so far and we are delighted to welcome some of the world’s biggest football stars to compete alongside drivers from the worlds of F1 and motorsport. Their desire to participate is a testament to the continued success and popularity of the F1 Esports Virtual Grands Prix and we are proud we can all stand together through racing to give sports fans a live spectacle to enjoy during these challenging times.”