Max Verstappen has opened up on why he won’t be competing in the official F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series despite being a fan of esports.
Max Verstappen says not being familiar with the F1 2019 video game is behind his decision to turn down a seat on the grid for the official F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series. The virtual series, arranged by F1 themselves after the coronavirus pandemic saw the first seven races of the real-world season wiped out, will get underway on Sunday.
Competitors from the worlds of motorsport and beyond will battle it out from the comfort of their own homes on the Bahrain Grand Prix track on the Codemasters game.
Verstappen will not be present on a simulated version of the Sakhir circuit, despite swapping his F1 car for an esports racing rig as the pandemic rages on.
The 22-year-old is experienced when it comes to taking to the virtual grid but says he’s not played enough of the F1 2019 game to compete in the new series.
Asked if he’ll be racing on Sunday, Verstappen told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport: “No, I won’t. Especially since I never play that game.
“It will take days to understand the game just a little bit better. And I don’t want to get into it right now.
“Also because I’m very busy with the other racing games. So switching between all those games just doesn’t work for me.
“And on top of that I always race to win. I’m not going to drive around somewhere at the back. Then I’d rather not participate at all.”
Verstappen pulled out of The Race All-Star Esports Battle on Saturday after announcing he’s linked up with Team Redline for an esports series starting on Monday.
While speaking on Friday night, the Dutchman hailed his countryman Rudy van Buren, who he’ll be competing alongside online.
“You drive other cars in these online races, of course,” Verstappen said. “So it is different to our normal racing activities. But at least it doesn’t hurt, it keeps you sharp and focused.
“And it is really nice to be able to race with so many other drivers out there. You just have to drive a lot to be competitive in sim racing.
“Practising is really important. And you have to know a little bit about set-ups and things like that. My team-mate Rudy is very good at that, so that helps as well.”
Verstappen will get his F1 career back underway later this year, with June 7’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix identified as the most realistic new start date for the delayed 2020 campaign.
Red Bull have, meanwhile, enlisted the services of Olympian Sir Chris Hoy and racing driver Philipp Eng for Sunday’s round of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series.