Formula 1 returns to the track in Austria on July 5, but the Virtual Grand Prix Series kept the sport in the public eye while others 'had one dark'.
Formula 1 head of digital business initiatives and esports, Julian Tan, has hailed the Virtual GP Series as a 'resounding success. During the course of the series, eleven real-world F1 drivers competed, with only Haas failing to field at least one of their drivers.
“The Virtual Grand Prix series has been a resounding success," said Tan. "We are so glad to have been able to provide our fans with racing action as well as engagement with our stars during a time when most live sports had gone dark."
The past two races in Monaco and Azerbaijan have seen a record high of eight real-world drivers competing on each occasion, but, due to a clash with the virtual Le Mans 24, only five will race in Canada.
As a result, George Russell, the Williams currently on a three-race winning streak, has been crowned the unofficial champion.
While the series will end in Canada, Tan will now switch focus to the official Formula 1 Pro Esports competition. Now entering a fourth season, the series continues to grow in popularity, even if the pro exhibition races during lockdown have been somewhat overshadowed by the Virtual Grand Prix Series.
Tan added: "Whilst the Virtual Grand Prix series may be coming to an end, this is just the start of our plans for this season, as we turn our attention to the F1 Esports Series later in the year.
"We are working on numerous ideas to make this season the best yet as we continue to develop our approach to the esports market and cannot wait for the fans to be a part of the experience.
"The Virtual Grands Prix have given us a chance to reach a whole new audience, and we’d love to see anyone who has enjoyed watching the series continue their journey with us when the action returns.”
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