Max Verstappen among sterling line-up announced for virtual Imola replacement race

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen arrives at the Jeddah Corniche circuit. March 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen arrives at the Jeddah Corniche circuit. March 2023

Max Verstappen will be racing in the virtual world this weekend, with his sim racing team announcing an esports event with a high-profile grid after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled.

Team Redline, the esports team associated with Verstappen, announced a return of its Real Racers Never Quit moniker that was used during the races they put on during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an event set to take place on Sunday 21 May at 3.30pm CEST [2.30pm BST].

Verstappen and the rest of the Formula 1 grid had been due to be racing around Imola this weekend, but the devastating impact of flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region this week prompted the early cancellation of the race.

With that, a virtual alternative is going to take place on Sunday and Verstappen is headlining a field that contains a host of Team Redline’s own drivers, along with multiple guests which were announced on Friday, including Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan, reigning F2 champion and Aston Martin reserve Felipe Drugovich and star of Australian Supercars, Shane van Gisbergen.

Current Formula 2 drivers Ayumu Iwasa, Richard Verschoor, Jak Crawford, Isack Hadjar and Enzo Fittipaldi have also been named, as well as Formula E’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Oliver Rowland.

Details of the specification of car and track are yet to be confirmed for Sunday’s online race, but Team Redline confirmed they will be streaming the event live on their Twitch channel when it gets underway. recommends

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The ongoing impact of flooding in Emilia-Romagna continues to be felt by those in the area, with Formula 1 and Ferrari each donating €1million each to causes to help the clean-up effort in the region.

Parts of the Formula 1 and support paddock were flooded earlier in the week with heavy rainfall in the area, and the nearby River Santerno having burst its banks close to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.