With Azerbaijan Postponed, F1 Shifts Focus on Esports

With the world of motorsports taking severalmajor blows already, F1 has decided to fight back by hosting the F1 EsportsVirtual Grand Prix to provide fans with a new form of entertainment.

F1 Shifts Focus on Esports Races After Azerbaijan Grand Prix Gets Postponed

With COVID-19 taking a toll on the global sportsmarket, an increasing number of sports organizations have turned to video gamesas a viable alternative. Spain’s La Liga has already broadcast somematches played in FIFA 20, the esports game that has been enjoying solidpopularity even without a global pandemic forcing us to panic-buy all essentialgoods.

Recently, Sevilla defender Sergio Reguilon andReal Betis striker Borja Iglesias hosted a virtual match that waswatched by 62,000 on the Twitch channel. This has prompted Ibai Llanos,a Spanish esports commentator to host a charity stream collecting participantsfrom every football club in La Liga, posting a final list of 18-oddparticipants.

Yet, this is only one of the examples how video gamesare filling the void. F1 has taken things a little more seriously i jili777 n hosting afull-blown virtual competition which will replace popular races from theofficial circuit.

With the Azerbaijan Grand Prix postponed, the F1Esports Virtual Grand Prix, which launched on March 22, is nowunderway. The first of the events was Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix, a homage tothe actual motorsports event.

Some teams, including McLaren haven proven more prepared than others who have taken video games less seriously. The F1 Esports Grand Prix is now run on the official F1 2019 PC video game.

F1 Drivers Join the Digital Race Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

While you might have thought that drivers would not beup for it, many have actually tried to qualify against players. In themeantime, the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix will run through May, but the possibilityexists to extend the virtual races if actual racing hasn’t returned to normal dueto the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commenting on these developments, F1 head of esports, JulianTan, had the following to say:

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“We are very pleased to be able to bring some light relief in the form of the F1 Esports Virtual GP, in these unpredictable times, as we hope to entertain fans missing the regular sporting action.”

Baku City Circuit officialshave agreed to postpone the event after negotiating with F1 executives andspecifically the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile and the Governmentof the Azerbaijan Republic.

In their official statement, The Baku City Circuitreiterated the evident reason behind the decision, citing the spread of the COVID-19illness as the reason why the event had been cancelled. More races have beencancelled elsewhere, of course, with Monaca, Vietnam, China, Dutch, Spain andother countries failing to host a race on time.

The next event on the Circuit is the CanadianGrand Prix, but there is no guarantee that the event will go through onJune 14.

F1 Esports has done pretty well, attracting a good deal of interest, players, and drivers. While esports won’t become the new norm, it would certainly gain some popularity and help fans get access to more motorsports action.