As the world continues to try and combat the spread and effects of the Coronavirus, the Formula 1 schedule has been thrown into quite some disarray. After the last-minute cancellation of the Australian GP, the FIA seems to have been more pro-active in taking measures to keep the sport and its people safe from COVID-19. While the Spanish and Dutch GPs have been postponed indefinitely, the iconic Monaco GP has been cancelled altogether for the first time since 1954.
In order to accommodate the remaining races, should the 2020 season get a chance to kick-off, the F1 summer break has been brought forward from July and August to March and April. The current shutdown period has been extended to 21 days. All 10 teams of the paddock have unanimously agreed to this ruling.
Another change the teams and the stakeholder agreed on earlier this week was that the new technical regulations of 2021 be delayed till 2022. Since the 2020 season could be shortened even further, the teams have also agreed to freeze any technical developments in the meantime. They would use the 2020 chassis for 2021 as well with the upgrades restricted to aerodynamic gains only. Meanwhile, the new financial regulations will be implemented as planned from 2021 onwards. The idea is to ease the financial stress on all teams as the COVID-19 outbreak has hampered the earnings of all involved and reduce costs in the long run as well.
In case you’re craving some F1 content too, F1 has announced a new Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series! It will feature the current grid of Formula 1 drivers and the virtual races will be run in place of all the postponed GPs. The first VGP (Virtual Grand Prix) is planned for this Sunday (March 22) and the plan is to have VGPs replace the following race weekends as well for the GPs that have been postponed. In its official announcement, F1 mentioned the plan is to add a host of “stars” to the grid as well. Yes, the Vietnamese and Dutch GPs are not in the F1 2019 game since they weren’t on the 2019 calendar, so the VGP Series will substitute it with an alternative GP.
The VGP will use the official F1 2019 game of course with the Bahrain GP scheduled to be a 28 lap race. The official broadcast is said to be available on official F1 YouTube channel, as well as on Twitch, Facebook and F1.com. This event is expected to be 90 mins long including qualifying. To make it a bit more exciting than real F1, the game settings will feature changes like BoP (balance of performance with fixed setups), reduced vehicle damage and a few assists(ABS and traction control) for those not familiar with the video game. It’s all for the entertainment and the results will not have any effect on the official World Championship.
This is the first bit of good news regarding F1 in recent weeks and I’m pumped to see the virtual action unfold. I don’t have a copy of F1 2019 but I am enjoying F1 2012 on my desktop for the time being. What racing games have you been playing to keep yourself entertained during the quarantine? Let me know in the comments below.