Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Albert Park, 2020

Sainz may make Virtual GP debut this weekend, Grosjean planning to join later

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Two more Formula 1 drivers are planning to enter future rounds of its official Virtual Grand Prix series.

Formula 1 announced today six members of the current field will participate in the third round of the series this weekend, as no new drivers have entered since the previous event. However Carlos Sainz Jnr said he is hoping to join the series and may do so in time for Sunday’s race.

“I’ve just got my simulator where I can play the F1 game and some iRacing,” he told Sky yesterday.

“The F1 game I’m looking forward to try and join this weekend, but I haven’t confirmed yet because I’m having issues with the brake pedal. I’m trying to calibrate it to be decent, at least. But as soon as I get it done I’ll be joining.”

Sainz’s team mate Lando Norris entered the first two virtual grands prix, but has been frustrated by connection problems. Williams is the only team which has entered both its race drivers for either of the races held so far.

Grosjean has acquired a new simracing rig
Sainz has participated in some other Esports events during the hiatus. “I am an ambassador for Gran Turismo so I’m keeping myself busy on Gran Turismo here in Spain, I’m doing a lot of online races here for charity.”

Taking part in online races “keeps me competitive”, said Sainz. “I love competing. Even in simulators I get so nervous in a qualifying lap or in a race start. That is what fuels me and what makes me then go to sleep saying ‘at least I’ve been competitive for a bit of time’.

“I hate being slower than the professional gamers in Gran Turismo, they are a couple of tenths quicker than me still and I hate it so much. I try to copy their driving styles and their tricks because every game has its own tricks.”

Haas driver Romain Grosjean has also obtained a new simracing rig in order to join F1’s official esports series. RaceFans understands he is preparing to join after this weekend’s Virtual Chinese Grand Prix, once he has had sufficient practice.

Haas has previously run its reserve drivers Louis Deletraz and Pietro Fittipaldi in the races. The arrival of Grosjean along with Sainz would increase the roster of current F1 drivers in the virtual grands prix to eight.

However RaceFans has learned Grosjean’s team mate Kevin Magnussen has declined to participate in the series. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat are also among those who have ruled out joining F1’s Virtual Grands Prix.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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