Formula 1 is switching to the virtual race track due to the corona crisis. Among others, McLaren pilot and Simracing advocate Lando Norris will be among the participants. Hundreds of thousands watch the spectacle on Twitch.
Currently, all major sporting events have been postponed or cancelled. But Formula 1 is not discouraged by this and is using the opportunity to organise a virtual race for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Under the title “#NotTheBahGP” (in English: “Not the Bahrain Grand Prix”) and with prominent support, the event took place on Sunday, organised by Veloce Esports and Motorsports Games.
With Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi only two real Formula 1 drivers took part and also the World Championship standings were not affected by the result. Nevertheless, there were many well-known names from the scene among the participants, who provided the best entertainment.
Besides Norris and Lafiti, the field of participants consisted of well known esport personalities. In addition to hosting icon Paul “Redeye” Chaloner, simracing streamer Jimmy Broadbent and German twitch star Peter “PietSmiet” Smits were also present.
The line-up made it clear right from the start that this was a pure entertainment event. Accordingly, it was chaotic on the race track. PietSmiet collided with numerous players, which the Lando Norris in the stream commented loudly. But even among the pros, things didn’t go any better: Ex-Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg had an accident right at the beginning of the race.
In the end, the Chinese Renault driver Guanyu Zhou, who normally competes in Formula 2, won.
Lando Norris lands success on Twitch
The spectator numbers also spoke for themselves. In addition to the live broadcast on the pay-TV station Sky, Norris also streamed the race from his perspective on Twitch. At times, over 100,000 spectators tuned in to watch him compete virtually. A total of 350,000 people visited his channel during the event.
A similar event for the Australian Grand Prix had already taken place a week earlier, on 22 March. The first race on a real racetrack is not to be held again until June 7th in Azerbaijan.