Coronavirus: F1 star turns to esports after Australian GP called off

The Australian Grand Prix may have been cancelled but McLaren driver Lando Norris was still racing on the Albert Park Circuit.

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This week FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) responsible to hold F1 race events held a committee meeting and announced the cancelation of the March 15th Australian Grand Prix as well as Bahrain and Vietnam events been delayed due to ongoing coronavirus concerns.

This announcement was anticipated by many followers and stars alike, as the spread of Coronavirus is still at large and WHO has now announced World Emergency. Amid the turmoil of cancelation of events, many fans are left with nothing to follow other than recycling through the old content of their favorite sports.

Similarly, the Sports Stars are left with too much time to pass as their calendars are suddenly becoming empty. To fill the void, Veloce Esports organized “Not the AUS GP” virtual racing event. In the event, several real-life F1 pros came together and raced against Top Gamers. One such star, McLaren driver Lando Norris streamed his race and was shocked when 70K viewers switched to his stream leapfrogging him to Twitch’s top spot over huge names like Marcel ‘MontanaBlack88’ Eris and Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel, as well as the RLCS and CSGO’s Flashpoint.

Jamie MacLaurin, founder of VeloceEsports told BBC Sport:

Esports is a very fast-growing and exciting industry and what we wanted to do this weekend is put on a fun race for fans that are without racing in Formula 1. We sat down together and thought people will be without a Formula 1 race and sport in general and they will be staying at home trying to avoid the coronavirus so where better to put on a race than online?”

“We got in touch with Lando and he was really interested.”

Several other stars also tuned in such as Lewis Hamilton, Stoffel Vandoorne and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Getting these stars onboard didn’t take much time for Jamie as everyone was free and were themselves looking for things to do amid the lockdown. Following Jamie’s footsteps, various other communities also came together and announced virtual tournaments.

Professional Cyclist Geraint Thomas, the winner of the 2018 Tour de France, hosted his own races with other stars, while Simon Yates with his twin brother Adam is organizing daily events with riders from Mitchelton–Scott men’s and women’s squads as well as other teams taking part.

Whereas for Football fans, Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias and Seville left-back Sergio Reguilon fought each other at Fifa 20 after the Sunday’s Seville football derby between Sevilla and Real Betis was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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