RealOpinions: The VirtualGP would be a worthy replacement for the F1 2020 season

F1’s VirtualGP was a huge success and the series has huge potential for the future of F1 this year.

George Howson by George Howson
f1 2020 virtual gp

By this point in the year, Formula 1 fans should’ve been talking about the first two rounds of the F1 2020 season.

However, major sport around the world has been put on hold following the Coronavirus pandemic and this extends to motorsport too.

The world of motorsport was shocked by the Australian Grand Prix’s cancellation a few weeks ago but an alternative was arranged by the time of the postponed Bahrain GP.

The Bahrain VirtualGP was hosted at Gfinity Arena and was streamed around the globe for free on a variety of platforms. The race attracted famous competitors from all walks of life and was watched by hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe.

The Virtual GP was a huge success but the series shouldn’t rest on its laurels as it could be made to be even better for future races.

Esports is vital at this time

f1 2019 mercedes
ESCAPISM: Fans want to be distracted from the world around them in times like these

The first eight rounds of the F1 season have either been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, placing a cloud over the heads of petrolheads around the globe.

The halting of motorsport also extends to other major series, IndyCar, NASCAR, WEC, Touring Cars and F1’s feeder series aren’t immune to Covid-19.

READ MORE: Gfinity to host F1 Virtual GPs

People need their weekend motorsport fix, especially when many countries have limited the time you can go out your house.

Esports rounds being played on the official F1 game is the best that race organisers can do in this situation and it’s a great replacement.

Bahrain VirtualGP was a huge success

f1 2019 ferrari bahrain
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The Virtual GPs have huge potential

Sunday’s race, for example, featured a former Grand Prix winner in Johnny Herbert, Golfer Ian Poulter, sim racers like Jimmy Broadbent and current drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi.

READ MORE: F1 Virtual Bahrain GP Full line-up

There was entertainment from start to finish, including comedic errors and a very questionable dive on the last corner of the race. In a time when the F1 Esports Series hasn’t started yet, this is the perfect show to engage with fans.

The real beauty of this is as well is that this wouldn’t have been possible even five years ago, esports has rocketed in popularity and remote play is far better than ever before.

Is a full Virtual GP Series possible?

F1 games offer wheel-to-wheel action
BATTLE HARD: Adding points to the series would create rivalries

The Virtual GP doesn’t just extend to Bahrain, but also the other races that have been either postponed or cancelled this season. At the time of writing, that’s eight and there’s likely to be more announced in the coming months.

The drivers will change from race to race but there will be some which compete in pretty much every round. With that being the case, it would be great to see a points table created so we can all see who is where and have something at stake.

Imagine if Broadbent’s punt on Norris was for the championship lead? That’d make the stakes so much higher!

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about MotoGP 20

The series shouldn’t take itself overly seriously though, otherwise it just becomes F1 esports for celebrities. Sunday’s light-hearted presentation and just-for-fun style was perfect for the time, but moving forward fans need a reason to return.

The limited damage and other assists should remain to keep the series open to those that don’t play F1 2019 regularly, but it would be terrific to see returning celebs make their improvements, rivalries crop up, and an eventual winner crowned.

Aside from that, keep the racing as it is and entertainment will follow, this is the winning formula to avoiding boredom in lockdown!

George Howson

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