Stoffel Vandoorne raced in Formula One in 2018 for the McLaren team. Sadly, he was rather underwhelming and teammate Fernando Alonso soundly beat him. As a result, McLaren chose not to retain him and fielded a new lineup of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris. Meanwhile, Vandoorne joined Mercedes in its Formula E team and put in impressive performances.
The Belgian is currently in his second season in Formula E and even led the championship at one stage. However he is back in F1, albeit in the Formula One Virtual Championship. This championship is practically a free for all and just about anyone can join in, regardless of whether they are F1 drivers or not.
During the Bahrain qualifying session, Vandoorne noted that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff follows him on video game digital platform, Steam. At the same time, he began trolling singer and novice racer, Liam Payne. The artist had posted a time of 2:19, to which the Belgian suggested that Payne did a lap in reverse.
Then, he informed his fellow competitors and his fans that McLaren CEO Zak Brown added him on Steam as well. The Belgian driver then gave a cheeky response that, “He probably wants to employ me again. Better watch out Lando.”
With regard to the race, Stoffel Vandoorne finished in an impressive 2nd, behind Guanyu Zhou from 11th on the grid. The ex-McLaren F1 driver started the race on medium tyres and stopped late to switch to soft rubber for a late charge.
He quickly dispatched YouTube star Jimmy Broadbent for third before chasing down Philipp Eng. Eventually he made his move on the penultimate lap, by then, it was too late to catch Zhou.
With no F1 or FE on-track action for the foreseeable future, drivers will have to turn to sim racing. By live-streaming these races, they are also ensuring that the fans don’t miss out on any of the action either. In other words, for people who spent money and lost their chance to watch a live F1 race, they can watch their favourite drivers for free.