Virtual Chinese GP: Ciro Immobile, Carlos Sainz confirmed, Race format, how to watch, confirmed drivers, F1 2020 release date, & more

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Formula 1 saw the postponement of both the Canadian & French Grands Prix over the Easter weekend, but the Virtual Grand Prix Series makes its return to keep racing fans entertained.

This Sunday would have seen the Chinese Grand Prix take place at the always-entertaining Shanghai International Circuit but for obvious reasons it was the first F1 casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

After the huge success of the Virtual Bahrain and Vietnam GPs, Formula 1 and Gfinity are back to bring racing to your screens with the Virtual Chinese GP!

Virtual Chinese GP

This Sunday's race will mirror the format of the previous ones, but at a slightly different time. The Virtual Chinese GP will start at 6pm BST on Sunday, 19 April. It will be broadcast in the UK on Sky Sports and in the US on ESPN.

It will be an 18-minute qualifying session followed by a 50% distance race.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about F1 2020

There are some assists like ABS and traction control enabled for the non-F1 pros that take part. Setup options are also limited to keep the field more even.

Confirmed F1 drivers

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POLE MAN: Could Leclerc dominate another Virtual GP?

The six F1 drivers from the last event return to the track on Sunday.

Previous race winner Charles Leclerc is back, with George Russell, Antonio Giovinazzi, Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon all chasing him down.

Joining them will be McLaren's other star Carlos Sainz, who will be racing in his first Virtual GP.

Ciro Immobile will also be joining the fray for the Alpha Tauri F1 team - which is sure to be a welcome addition for fans.

There is a consistent F2 representation in these races, and this weekend is no exception. Callum Ilott will partner Leclerc this weekend.

We'll also see Jimmy Boradbent and Anthony Davidson joining the grid, driving for the Racing Point team.

Celebrity racers

So far we have seen the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Ben Stokes, and Liam Payne jump in and take part. So who will it be this week?

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As long as a team can get them a racing rig it could really be anyone. Red Bull have drafted in Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to partner Albon this weekend. He's a veteran of F1 sim racing so should be competitive!

How to watch

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TRICKY CHALLENGE: There's nothing easy about the Shanghai circuit

The Virtual Chinese GP will start at 6pm BST on Sunday, 19 April. The race is will be streaming live across Formula 1's official channels on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook.

There will also be a host of TV channels carrying the event so be sure to check local listings on channels where F1 would normally be shown.

Shanghai International Circuit

The Chinese Grand Prix is traditionally one of the most exciting races on the F1 calendar. This is thanks to variable tyre strategies, changeable weather, and of course the track itself.

With multiple tricky corners, overtaking points, and DRS zones it has regularly been a can't-miss race for fans.

READ MORE: F1 2019 Chinese Grand Prix Setup Guide

The 270-degree right-handers of turn 1/2 & 12/13 test the drivers' patience and punish the outside front tyre. The hairpin at turn 14 is often a crash waiting to happen.

Our Chinese Grand Prix track guide has all the info you need to plot a safe course though, as long as your setup is right.

F1 2020 release date

The Virtual Grand Prix Series is currently taking place on F1 2019 as F1 2020 is not yet out.

The release date was announced recently. Codemasters' next game will arrive on 10 July, with early access available from 7 July.

For more articles like this, take a look at our F1 page.