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Formula 1

Button joins Melbourne Formula 1 Virtual GP entry

by Jack Benyon
2 min read

Jenson Button will return to race action for McLaren in Sunday’s Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix, with current Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi also confirmed.

The 2009 world champion made his esports debut in last weekend’s Team Redline Pro Series event staged at Road America driving a Dallara Formula 3 car, and this is the first time he has competed in an F1-run event since his one-off appearance in place of Fernando Alonso in the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.

“So I’ve been roped into taking part in the next Virtual Grand Prix this Sunday live on Sky Sports F1,” said Button on Twitter.

“Should be a good laugh, take it easy on this newbie.”

The addition of Button means there are now a total of eight grand prix drivers participating, with Giovinazzi one of the six current race drivers on the grid.


Button lines up alongside Lando Norris for McLaren to give it a combination of past and present race drivers, while Alfa Romeo is also fielding Johnny Herbert, who raced for the team in its Sauber guise from 1996-1998l

Williams will field George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, while Ferrari fields Charles Leclerc alongside younger brother and driver development programme member Arthur.

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Red Bull driver Alex Albon will also be competing, although he is partnering a sporting superstar from cricket world – England all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Several other drivers with affiliations to F1 teams are also competing, with Haas fielding test and reserve driver duo Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz, while Renault will run Academy driver Christian Lundgaard.

The race is badged as the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix, but will be held at Melbourne’s Albert Park – where Button won three times – as the new Hanoi circuit is not available on the F1 2019 game.

The broadcast of F1’s second virtual race, following the Bahrain event held two weeks ago, will start at 8pm on Sunday, with qualifying followed by a 28-lap race.

Drivers will participate in cars running fixed set-ups with reduced damaged and anti-lock brakes and traction control available as an option.

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