Williams’ Russell and Latifi headline Virtual Austrian GP

Williams George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will be in action this Sunday, albeit in the virtual world as F1 Esports’ Virtual Grand Prix series returns this weekend.

Sunday’s Virtual Austrian GP will kick off a three-race series in which teams will battle for a share of prize money that each entrant will donate to a charity of their choice.

Russell – who won last year’s sim series that took place during F1’s pre-season lock down period – and Latifi will be the only active F1 drivers on the grid but the duo is expected to be joined by a few of its current colleagues in the upcoming rounds.

Looking at the entry list, Red Bull reserve driver and Wings for Life ambassador Alex Albon will also fire up his computer rig and race alongside Jeffrey Herling, Red Bull KTM Factory rider and MXGP World Champion.

The Fittipaldi family will race under the Haas banner, with Pietro Fittipaldi who enjoyed his F1 debut last year in Bahrain joining up with his brother Enzo.

Stoffel Vandoorne and former F1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will race for Mercedes and AlphaTauri respectively while Renault Academy members Christian Lundgaard and FIA F3 champion Oscar Piastri will represent Alpine.

The series will also enjoy the presence on Sunday of Real Madrid goalkeeper and part-time sim racer Thibaut Courtois, the Belgian racing for Alfa Romeo.

Entertainment will be at the forefront of this weekend’s games but as stated previously, it will all be for a good cause, and each team’s chosen charity will receive a significant donation from the Virtual GP’s prize fund regardless of where their outfit finishes in the pecking order.

The series’ format will include a sprint race showcasing the skills of the teams’ Esports Pro Series sim racers that will also define the grid for the main event.

The action will kick off on Sunday January 31 from 18:00 GMT on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Huya (China) and Weibo (China) channels, as well as broadcast by international television partners including Sky Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports and Ziggo.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter