A Drivers Life in Lockdown

With the season put on hold and fear of racing becoming extinct in 2020, at least half of the Formula 2 and Formula 3 grid participated in Virtual Grand Prix’s. The Virtual Grand Prix’s kicked off with the F1 eSports on March 22nd where Formula 2 Drivers, Robert Shwartzman and Guanyu Zhou, raced with their driver academies; Ferrari and Renault. They competed at Bahrain where Zhou went on to take the first race win. The second race went ahead on April 5th where we saw Formula 2 drivers Christian Lundgaard and Louis Deletraz join Renault and Haas in the Vietnam Grand Prix, held at Albert Park due to the circuit not being a part of the game. Renault Academy Driver Lundgaard went on to take second behind Charles Leclerc while Haas Reserve Driver Deletraz finished in seventh.

The Chinese Grand Prix followed suit on April 19th where we continued to see our feeder series drivers. Formula 2’s Callum Ilott joined Ferrari and Formula 3’s Liam Lawson joined Alpha Tauri for their debut while Deletraz returned to Haas and Zhou returned to Renault. Zhou took another podium, finishing third while Deletraz took seventh once again with Lawson close behind in eighth.

For the fourth round, the Dutch Grand Prix held in Brazil, we saw the return of Lundgaard and Deletraz while Formula 3’s David Schumacher and Enzo Fittipaldi both made their debuts. Fittipaldi managed to sandwich himself between to two returners, placing himself seventh while Lundgaard finished sixth and Deletraz in eighth. Round five went on to see the Spanish Grand Prix. Schumacher returned for his second time alongside fellow Formula 3 driver Max Fewtrell. Fewtrell went on to take tenth in the Renault while Schumacher placed 13th in the Racing Point.

The sixth round was held in Monaco where Deletraz returned with Haas and Schumacher joined Racing Point once again. The pair went on to place ninth and tenth. Deletraz went on to race in the seventh round in Azerbaijan where he placed 17th. He was joined by Formula 3’s Oscar Piastri and Enzo Fittipaldi who took fifth and thirteenth. The final Virtual Grand Prix concluded in Canada where we saw UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou and Callum Ilott join Renault and Ferrari to place seventh and ninth, Charouz’s Formula 3 Driver David Schumacher in the Racing Point where he placed tenth and Charouz’s Formula 2 Driver Louis Deletraz in the Haas where he placed eleventh. We also saw the return of 2019 Formula 2 Driver Juan Manuel Correa who joined Alfa Romeo to finish fourteenth.

Alongside Formula One’s Virtual Grand Prix, the drivers put together a Virtual Charity Grand Prix called Race for the World where they streamed to help raise money for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. It consisted of nineteen drivers across three nights. Various feeder series drivers contended in the few races, including: Formula 2 Drivers Giuliano Alesi, Louis Deletraz, Sean Gelael, Callum Ilott and Christian Lundgaard; and Formula 3 Driver Enzo Fittipaldi. In terms of the Formula 2 drivers, Lundgaard managed to finish in fifth with 50 points, Deletraz in seventh with 34 points and Ilott in 15th with 2 points. Fittipaldi, with his brother Pietro, amassed 4 points, earning them joint thirteenth with Jimmy Broadbent, a sim-racer and content creator.

Aside from the F1 Virtual Grand Prix’s, Formula 2 held a series with the Formula 2 cars in the F1 2019 game. Consisting of 4 rounds, it featured many drivers across many feeder series and previous drivers. The first round was held in the Bahrain International Circuit on the 3rd of May, where the first race of the series was originally meant to be held. Despite the first round being quickly announced, many drivers enjoyed the idea of a Virtual GP with the Formula 2 cars, with drivers joining including: Formula 2 Drivers Jack Aitken, Callum Ilott, Christian Lundgaard, Felipe Drugovich, Louis Deletraz, Luca Ghiotto and Nobuharu Matsushita; Formula 3 Drivers Liam Lawson, Lirim Zendeli, Frederik Vesti, Theo Pourchaire, Calan Williams, Olli Caldwell and Jack Doohan; Formula Regional driver Arthur Leclerc; and former drivers amongst the likes of Oliver Rowland, Norman Nato, Antonio Fuoco and Juan Manuel Correa.

The amount of feeder series drivers kept up as they moved to the Barcelona track for the following round. Leclerc, Nato, Aitken, Zendeli, Matsushita, Deletraz, Drugovich, Rowland, Caldwell, Pourchaire, Ilott, Doohan and Correa rejoined once more, but this time joined by Formula 2 drivers Guanyu Zhou, Sean Gelael and Artem Markelov; Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch; Formula 4 driver Sebastian Montoya and commentator Davide Valsecchi. This event was equally as much of a success as the former, with many fans enjoying the event.

Following the calendar, the drivers were meant to head off to the iconic streets of Monaco, and thus, did it virtually. Many drivers stayed on to race in the following event with the likes of: Formula 2 drivers Aitken, Deletraz, Shwartzman, Ticktum, Armstrong, Ilott, Drugovich, Ghiotto, Markelov and Matsushita; Formula 3 drivers Zendeli, Pourchaire, Williams, Caldwell, Fittipaldi and Ahmed. On top of this, the event also invited other drivers including Leclerc, Merhi and Valsecchi.

The fourth and final round was held in Baku City Circuit with a range of selected drivers to partake in the finale. All but one driver were on the rungs of the ladder to Formula 1, competing in Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Regional, Formula 4 and Renault Eurocup. We had the UNI-Virtuosi duo of Guanyu Zhou and Callum Ilott, Prema’s Oscar Piastri and Arthur Leclerc, ART’s Victor Martins and Theo Pourchaire, DAM’s Formula 2 lineup Dan Ticktum and Sean Gelael, Formula 3 drivers Enaam Ahmed and Matteo Nannini for Carlin, Trident’s Formula 3 duo of Olli Caldwell and Lirim Zendeli, current Campos racer Jack Aitken and Roberto Merhi, Charouz duo of Louis Deletraz and former Charouz racer Juan Manuel Correa, Nikita Mazepin and Bent Viscaal for MP Motorsport and lastly, the current HWA driver Enzo Fittipaldi and Paul Aron.

For some, their home away from racing was live streaming on Twitch, sharing what their games whilst fans enjoyed watching and learning more about their favourite driver. In the lockdown period, Formula 2 drivers Callum Ilott and Louis Deletraz, Formula 3 drivers Max Fewtrell and Enzo Fittpaldi (with his brother Pietro) became partnered on Twitch, whilst Novalak, Lundgaard, Ticktum, Drugovich and Ahmed had their share of the Twitch community, becoming an affiliate. Pourchaire also had his attempt in streaming a few races prior the Virtual GPs. Many enjoyed the insights of watching their favourite driver whilst they entertained the audience, bringing the fans closer to the drivers.

With racing scheduled once more on the calendar, drivers headed off to Austria to begin the start of the season. Don’t miss out on the racing:
Local Track Time (CEST)

Friday:
09:35-10:20 | F3 Practice
12:55-13:40 | F2 Practice
14:05-14:35 | F3 Quali
17:00-17:30 | F2 Quali

Saturday:
10:25-11:10 | F3 Race 1
16:45-17:50 | F2 Race 1

Sunday:
09:45-10:30 | F3 Race 2
11:10-12:00 | F2 Race 2