Virtual Formula 1 - Australian Grand Prix Preview
All the key info you need to know about the Virtual Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix esports event on Sunday, 5 April 2020 featuring Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Alex Albon & Ben Stokes. Live on Sky Sports Main Event.
What is Virtual Formula 1?
Due to the postponement of the Formula 1 season, an esports version of the real thing has been launched to cover the races that have been missed so far this season. It is staged using the 2019 Formula 1 video game with a grid of 20 drivers who will alternate each week, but will be driving on behalf of the usual 10 F1 teams.
You might be thinking that the lesser teams stand no chance against the might of Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. That’s why F1 have taken steps to level the playing field and adjusted the settings on all cars to ensure an even race.
There has been one race that’s taken place so far - the Bahrain Grand Prix - won by Renault junior driver Guanyu Zhou, who just beat off Mercedes’ reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
Who’s taking part on Sunday?
The final driver lineup is still to be released, but here are the confirmations so far:
Charles Leclerc - Ferrari
Arthur Leclerc - Ferrari
Alex Albon - Red Bull
Ben Stokes - Red Bull
Lando Norris - McLaren
George Russell - Williams
Nicholas Latifi - Williams
Andre Heimgartner - Renault
Christian Lundgaard - Renault
Johnny Herbert - (Team to be confirmed)
Anthony Davidson - (Team to be confirmed)
Who has the best chance of winning the Virtual Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix?
Many will look to Lando Norris after his impressive performance in the Bahrain GP - coming from the back of the grid to 5th - but likely odds of around 3.0 (33% chance) offer little value in what promises to be a much more competitive race this weekend.
The new face of Ferrari, Charles Leclerc will also likely be a popular choice however he won’t have had a huge amount of simulator time to prep for this and the Ferrari drivers were notably weak last time out.
Instead, Red Bull’s Alex Albon offers more value at around 12.0 (8.33%) to finish best of the F1 stars. He’s known to have clocked up a lot of simulator hours alongside his teammate Max Verstappen, and BMW Motorsport’s Philipp Eng finished a good third for Red Bull in Bahrain having qualified on pole.
It goes without saying that the professional esports players that could line up should not be taken lightly, Jimmy Broadbent managed to beat off Lando Norris for fourth position last time out and should he take part again, he will be one to watch.