Jenson Button teaming with Lando Norris for McLaren in F1's Virtual GP
Button joins likes of Charles Leclerc and Ben Stokes on Sunday's grid; Watch live on Sky Sports F1 and our YouTube at 8pm on Sunday
By James Galloway and Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 05/04/20 11:03pm
Sky F1's Jenson Button will return to McLaren - this time in the world of Esports - for a debut in F1's Virtual Grand Prix series on Sunday.
Button, the 2009 world champion, will be back racing for them in the Virtual GP around Albert Park at 8pm on Sunday.
Button joins fellow Sky F1 pundits Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson in the field for Sunday's race at 8pm - live on Sky Sports F1, Main Event and YouTube.
The 40-year-old joins six 2020 drivers signed up to race, with Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi making their debuts, and Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi returning.
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So I’ve been roped in to taking part in the next Virtual Grand Prix this Sunday Live on @skysportsf1. Should be a good laugh, take it easy on this newbie @georgerussell63 @landonorris @charles_leclerc @nicholaslatifi @alex_albon 🙏🏽#f1 #everyracelive #skysportsf1 #melbourne #albertpark
World Cup-winning England cricketer Ben Stokes, meanwhile, is driving for Red Bull.
Button revealed on Sky F1's new Vodcast series earlier this week that he had recently had a simulator delivered to his home in LA. He then got a taste for eSports in the same iRacing challenge that Max Verstappen and Norris compete in.
"He joined a race the other night on iRacing and he was surprisingly quick!" said Norris of the 40-year-old on Friday's latest Vodcast.
"For the limited amount of time that I'm sure he's had on it, he was pretty good. So I'm sure come Sunday I hope he can be a key player.
The first official Sky F1 Vodcast! 🎙️@simon__lazenby, @karunchandhok, @MBrundleF1 and @JensonButton hopped in a group call to talk F1. 🗣️— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) March 30, 2020
JB even shows us where he keeps his championship trophy... 🚽😂
Watch the full episode! ➡️ https://t.co/00SdzG9JMc#SkyF1 | #F1
"These different games are not easy to get used to.
"Although it's driving a car at the end of the day, it's still how you drive and the physics of the tyre model [change]. A lot of different tips and tricks you need for each programme, each car and for each track. For him to kind to jump on to go against me and others you have spent hours and hours and days in the last couple of weeks on it, he did pretty good."
Who's taking part in Sunday's F1 Virtual GP?
The confirmed list so far:
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Arthur Leclerc, Ferrari
Alex Albon, Red Bull
Ben Stokes, Red Bull
Lando Norris, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
Johnny Herbert, Alfa Romeo
George Russell, Williams
Nicholas Latifi, Williams
Anthony Davidson (TBC)
Esteban Gutierrez, Mercedes
Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes
Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas
Louis Deletraz, Haas
Andre Heimgartner, Renault
Christian Lundgaard, Renault
Why are they racing in Australia?
While the plan for the Esports series was to mirror the corresponding event from the F1 2020 calendar - the Virtual Bahrain GP took place on the same day as the 'real' Bahrain GP was due to happen, for instance - that was not possible this weekend. That's because the Hanoi track which was supposed to host the inaugural Vietnam GP on the F1 calendar on Sunday, is not available on the 2019 F1 game.
That means they are racing 'at' Albert Park - which is handy as they missed out on racing there in the F1 2020 season-opener.
How can I watch?
The event will be live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports F1 from 8pm, with qualifying taking place first before the 28-lap race. The show will also be live streamed on our YouTube channel.
You can also follow the race via our digital platforms - we'll be providing updates in a live blog, and on Twitter.