A virus is not enough to bring all engines to a halt. Since the official Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain had to be cancelled, Veloce Esports decided to move the racing action into the digital world with a series of fun tournaments. After the #NotTheAusGP last week, the format continued with #NotTheBahGP on 22 March.
Reading time: 4 minutes
The #NotTheBahGP was a great success among players as well as the community and attracted over 260,000 concurrent viewers.The reason behind this high viewer count: 20 professional racers and esports personalities joined forces to entertain the racing world with the virtual F1 2019 spectacle.
Professional Formula-1 racers such as Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi were joined by sim racing-icons Jimmy Broadbent and Ben “Tiametmarduk” Daly. Various other celebrities such as Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Pro Tour golfer Ian Poulter and YouTuber Peter “PietSmiet” Smits added to the interesting line-up.
The drivers had to complete two races with 14 rounds each. The starting grid in race one was based on the drivers’ times in the qualifiers. Race two was then played in a reverse-grid format.
Dani Bereznay and Cem Bolukbasi take the first wins in the #NotGPSeries
Superstar Norris only finished 10th in the first round after he collided with Tiametmarduk earlier. Nicholas Latifi made it to the fifth place, slightly before Stoffel Vandoorne on rank 7.
The winner of the first race was Dani “FormulaDani” Bereznay, professional esports driver for Alfa Romeo F1 Esports who led the circuit from the pole position. He was followed by Renault Esports driver Jarno Opmeer and James Baldwin who is currently competing for Veloce Esports.
The racing continued with the reverse-grid race. Therefore, the finishing positions from the previous race were reversed and this time, content creators Will “WillNE” Lenney and Steve “SuperGT” Brown started from the pole position.
They were however quickly overtaken by capable pilots such as sim racer Cem Bolukbasi who emerged victorious from round 2. Norris initially had a strong run but eventually started to lag behind. After speeding in the pitlane, he fell behind to the seventh place.
Latifi delivered several neck-to-neck races against WillNE for position eight. Unfortunately, he crashed with another driver in the last round and his damaged vehicle could not make it into the top ten anymore.
Bolukbasi was joined on the podium by two drivers who were already familiar with the top three: James Baldwin and Bereznay.
Entertainment during times of uncertainty
#NotTheBahGP was not intended as a serious competitive tournament and focused on entertainment, filling the void the actual Grand Prix left. It fulfilled its premise right after its start. Players crashed into each other, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.
While the event had an official production that could be followed on Veloce Esports’ channels, Lando Norris provided some extra entertainment and streamed his perspective on Twitch as well.
Virtual Grand Prix follows #NotTheBahGP
Veloce Esports already announced to host similar events as long as the real Formula 1 circuits have to stay empty. However, also Formula 1 hosted a tournament, the first Virtual Grand Prix. The list of participants features some well-known names we already saw at #NotTheBahGP: Norris and Latifi also joined this event as well as Poulter and Broadbent.