Life In The Fast Lane #6: Chinese Virtual Grand Prix And FIA Target July Return

Words by Tony Robertson (@TonyRob84).

Featured image credit: Liberty Media. Image does not meet threshold of originality and is therefore in the public domain.

Welcome to edition six of Overtime Online’s weekly F1 column Life In The Fast Lane.

This week I’ll be looking at what happened in last weeks Chinese Virtual Grand Prix, as well as the announcements surrounding the remainder of the 2020 season.

Without further ado lets get underway.

Leclerc loves life in VGPs:

Charles Leclerc has taken like a duck to water since he has started participating in the Virtual Grand Prix series.

The Ferrari driver once again took the chequered flag to make it two wins from two races in the Virtual Grand Prix series.

The grid this week was changed up from the last race, as the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Ciro Immobile and Carlos Sainz Jr. came into the grid.

Yet again Lando Norris failed to start to race and once again the race started with 19 drivers.

While lap one was largely clean, that didn’t stop Sainz from spinning out and into the wall.

Lap 20 saw the Bahrain Grand Prix winner Guanyu Zhou battle intensely with Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne as he attempted to use the undercut tactic to gain position which was ultimately successful against the F2 driver.

With Leclerc once again finishing as top dog, Alex Albon made his way onto the podium for the first time in a Virtual Grand Prix while Vandoorne lost out on a podium finish to Zhou due to a penalty he picked up earlier in the race.

George Russell also managed to pip Vandoorne to a position and achieved fourth place as he finished around 200th of a second behind Zhou.

The next race in the Virtual Grand Prix series will be the Netherlands. However, since the Zandvoort circuit is not on the F1 2019 video game the race will be held at another circuit which has yet to be announced.

Developments in the season:

This weeks column has been published a little later than previous weeks. This has ended up being a small blessing as a number of announcements have been made.

Firstly it was announced the French Grand Prix, scheduled for June 28, has been cancelled making it the 10th Grand Prix to be cancelled or postponed this season.

Shortly after it was announced on the official F1 Twitter account that July will be the target for getting the season back underway.

F1 CEO Chase Carey said: “We’re targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend. September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races.”

Chase expressed that they were “increasingly confident” of getting the season underway in the summer.

Chase added: “We expect the early races to be without fans but hope fans will be part of our events as we move further into the schedule. We still have to work out many issues like the procedures for the teams and our other partners to enter and operate in each country.

“The health and safety of all involved will continue to be priority one and we will only go forward if we are confident we have reliable procedures to address both risks and possible issues.”

Silverstone, venue for this years British Grand Prix, also confirmed that any races which happen there will take place behind closed doors.

That being said with the way the lockdown is developing the race will be more likely to simply not go ahead.

And with that, we’ve come to the end of the sixth edition of Life In The Fast Lane. You can check out last weeks edition here.

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