F1 Virtual Chinese Grand Prix: What time does it start, how to watch it online and on TV and driver line-up

Everything you need to know about the third round of F1’s Virtual Grand Prix series in place of the postponed Chinese GP

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Sunday 19 April 2020 18:19 BST
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Footballers Thibaut Courtois and Ciro Immobile will join a grid for the Virtual Chinese Grand Prix that feature the highest number of F1 drivers yet in the third round of the eSports series.

With the Chinese Grand Prix due to have taken place on Sunday, only to be postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, drivers will instead get to grips with the Shanghai International Circuit on the PC version of the F1 2019 game, with rounds having already taken place at Bahrain and Melbourne over the course of the last four weeks.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc returns once again after securing an emphatic win last time out, and he is one of seven current F1 drivers who will take part in Sunday evening’s race.

Both McLaren and Williams will field their full 2020 driver line-ups, with Lando Norris joined this weekend by regular teammate Carlos Sainz while George Russell and Nicholas Latifi continue for the latter, while Ferrari, Red Bull and Alfa Romeo are all able to boast one of their drivers for the event.

With Leclerc turning out for Ferrari once more - and Sebastian Vettel not yet ready to join him - F2 driver Callum Ilott will join the two-time Grand Prix winner, while Red Bull’s Alex Albon will partner a familiar name in Real Madrid and Belgium goalkeeper Courtois.

Antonio Giovinazzi makes up the line-up of F1 drivers, and the Alfa Romeo star is joined by Juan Manuel Correa, the former F2 driver who continues to recover from horrific injuries sustained in a serious accident at Spa last season.

The other professional footballer on the grid sees Borussia Dortmund and Italy forward Immobile partner Red Bull academy driver Liam Lawson at Toro Rosso.

Neither Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas will race for Mercedes as they stick with the same driver line-up for a third consecutive race in Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne and test driver Esteban Gutierrez, while golfer Ian Poulter continues for Renault alongside Guanyu Zhou - an expected front-runner after he won the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix before missing the Melbourne event.

The grid is made up by Sky Sports F1 presenter Anthony Davidson and online streamer Jimmy Broadbent for Racing Point and F2 driver Louis Deletraz joined at Haas by test driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Here’s what you need to know about the event.

When is the Virtual Chinese Grand Prix?

The event takes place on Sunday 19 April 2020.

What time does it start?

The event is due to get underway at 6pm, with a 15-minute qualifying session followed by a 28-lap race. The entire event is expected to last around 90 minutes.

Where can I watch it?

The broadcast which will be available on F1.com, the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch, Weibo and Facebook channels, and will also be shown live on Sky Sports F1 and on ESPN in the US.

Driver line-up

Mercedes: Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc, Callum Ilott

Red Bull: Alex Albon, Thibaut Courtois

McLaren: Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz

Renault: Guanyu Zhou, Ian Poulter

Racing Point: Anthony Davidson, Jimmy Broadbent

Toro Rosso: Ciro Immobile, Liam Lawson

Alfa Romeo: Antonio Giovinazzi, Juan Manuel Correa

Haas: Louis Deletraz, Pietro Fittipaldi

Williams: George Russell, Nicholas Latifi

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