Carlos Sainz Jr. became the last Formula 1 driver to enter the world of Esports by joining the grid for the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix this weekend.
The McLaren Sainz driver will join teammate Lando Norris for the third F1-supported Virtual GP event, which has seen an increase in real-world participation at each event.
The virtual race at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday – instead of the postponed Chinese Grand Prix – will now feature more than a third of the F1 grid.
Sainz’s participation on Friday was confirmed by F1 on his social media, with the Spaniard joining Norris, Charles Leclerc, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alexander Albon, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi in the field.
Leclerc won the last Virtual GP race for Ferrari, taking place on the Albert Park circuit in place of the Vietnamese Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Another newcomer to the virtual GP field will be the recent Formula 2 race Juan Manuel Correa, who will be Giovinazzi’s partner at Alfa Romeo.
Correa has been part of the Alfa Romeo young driver program since March 2019.
Correa regularly competed in sim races to stay sharp and entertained as he recovered from the serious injuries sustained in the Formula 2 accident at Spa last August, which also tragically cost Anthoine Hubert his life.
Former Correa F2 teammate Callum Ilott will race alongside Leclerc for Ferrari this weekend, while Red Bull Albon driver will be joined by Real Madrid footballer Thibaut Courtois.
The rest of the peloton remains to be confirmed, but is expected to again consist of a mix of junior and other recent F1 drivers.
Norris, Leclerc, Giovinazzi, Albon, Russell and Latifi will all participate in the final of the Race for the World charity series on Friday evening.
The sextet raised more than $ 48,000 for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund before the last two races of their championship.
The Chinese Virtual Grand Prix will take place on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. BST and will be broadcast on F1 social media and on YouTube.