The full line-up for the Virtual Austrian Grand Prix, the first of the 2021 series, has been confirmed – and it features a number of familiar faces.
The series was launched by the sport in early 2020 in response to the delay of the return of real racing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featuring a number of F1 drivers past and present, as well as a wide range of celebrities and athletes from other sports, it proved to be hugely popular, so it came as little surprise when it was announced it would be returning for 2021.
The first of the three races this year will take place in the virtual hills of Austria, and the line-up for it features as many big names as ever.
Of the current F1 grid, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will both be driving for Williams, while Red Bull reserve driver Alex Albon is also taking part, along with the team’s Motorcross World Champion, Jeffrey Herlings.
There will also be plenty of former F1 drivers competing. Two of them, Stoffel Vandoorne and Anthony Davidson, will be driving for Mercedes, while Vitantonio Liuzzi and Pietro Fittipaldi will represent AlphaTauri and Haas respectively, with brother Enzo partnering the latter.
Perhaps the biggest name in the line-up can be found at Alfa Romeo, where Real Madrid goalkeeper and 2020 series regular Thibaut Courtois will hope to repeat his impressive performances of last year.
Ferrari and Alpine have opted to field drivers from their academies for the race – Marcus Armstrong and Arthur Leclerc, and Christian Lundgaard and Oscar Piastri respectively – while McLaren’s line-up consists solely of virtual gamers in Jimmy Broadbent and Ben ‘Tiametmarduk’ Daly.
ICYMI: It’s lights out for the Virtual Grand Prix tomorrow!
— Formula 1 (@F1) January 30, 2021
The full line-up:
Mercedes: Stoffel Vandoorne and Anthony Davidson
Red Bull: Alex Albon and Jeffrey Herlings
McLaren: Jimmy Broadbent and Ben ‘Tiametmarduk’ Daly
Alpine: Christian Lundgaard and Oscar Piastri
Ferrari: Marcus Armstrong and Arthur Leclerc
AlphaTauri: Vitantonio Liuzzi and Luca Salvadori
Alfa Romeo: Thibaut Courtois and Jack ‘Pie Face’ McDermott
Haas: Pietro Fittipaldi and Enzo Fittipaldi
Williams: George Russell and Nicholas Latifi
The feature race will begin at 18:00 GMT on Sunday following a five-lap sprint race in which Esports Pro Series drivers will battle it out to determine the starting grid.
As with last year, the event will be available to view on the sport’s official Youtube channel and social media accounts, while various broadcasters – those who show the real races – will also be showing it.