Perez and Gasly to debut in Virtual Azerbaijan Grand Prix F1

Haydn Cobb

Both the Racing Point and AlphaTauri drivers will make their respective debuts in the esports series, which this weekend takes place instead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to be held at the Baku City Circuit on June 7.

F1 has confirmed the Baku race will be the penultimate Virtual GP with the finale taking place next weekend with the Canada Virtual GP on June 14, as the sport gears up for the resumption of the 2020 season on July 5 in Austria.

Perez and Gasly will compete against fellow F1 drivers Alex Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell – with the Williams driver targeting a third consecutive win after recent triumphs in Spain and Monaco.

Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas, who competed in the Monaco race, will not return for the Baku round.

At Racing Point Perez will be partnered by popular streamer Jimmy Broadbent, who returns to make his sixth appearance for the Silverstone team. 

The Virtual Azerbaijan GP will also see stars from football take part, with Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte racing for Renault alongside Formula 3 driver Oscar Piastri.

AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will partner Gasly for AlphaTauri, while fellow goalie Thibaut Courtois will make his fourth Virtual GP start as he returns to the Alfa Romeo line-up next to Giovinazzi.

Former Dakar Rally champion Matthias Walkner teams up with Albon at Red Bull.

“We are immensely proud of the Virtual Grand Prix series, which allowed us to bring Formula 1 to fans around the world, in a time when actual racing was not possible,” Julian Tan, F1’s head of digital business initiative and Esports, said.

“We are very grateful to the teams and drivers that have taken part in the series to date and look forward to ending the series with a bang in the coming weeks as we all gear up to kick off the 2020 Formula 1 world championship season in Austria.

“Great momentum has been gathered as part of our Virtual Grands Prix Series and we are excited to build on this momentum in our esports strategy going forward.”

The Azerbaijan Virtual GP will take place at 6pm BST on Sunday.