Earlier this month the opening eight races for the 2020 season were announced, beginning with a double header at the Red Bull Ring in Austria during the first two weekends of July. Formula 1 blogger, Ragavan Sreetharan has some updates on the rest of the calendar.
While Formula 1 is confident of having between 15-18 races by the time the season concludes in Abu Dhabi in mid-December, it has been confirmed that we will not be seeing the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel racing at either Azerbaijan, Singapore or Japan in 2020.
A statement from F1 stated: “As a result of the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, we and our promoters in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have taken the decision to cancel their races for the 2020 season.”
The cancellations mean F1 has lost another three key grands prix to Covid-19 that has already claimed the season-opening race in Australia and the blue-riband Monaco event.
The historic event at Suzuka is because of Japan’s ban on international travelers while the races in Singapore and Baku cannot be held because the street circuits cannot be built in the current climate.
Suzuka resonates with drivers and fans alike as the most challenging of all tracks, while Singapore’s night event is considered a physical and mental test of endurance because of the hot, humid and bumpy conditions and length of the race.
The Azerbaijan cancellation will have financial ramifications for Formula 1 as the circuit pays one of the highest fees of all races. Fans will also be disappointed as the Baku street track, with its super-long pit straight, has become known for its incident-packed grands prix.
F1 is now looking at an increasingly Euro-centric season this year, with Ragavan Sreetharan learning that it is likely that two Grands Prix will likely be hosted at Hockenheim, which has traditionally served as the site of the German Grand Prix.
On Thursday F1’s motorsports Chief Ross Brawn explained that the plan for the second half of the season is slowly but surely coming together. “Things are moving fast, but we still have time,” he said. “We have lots of different options and we’re very confident we’re going to have a great second half of the season.
“There is a contingency to have an extended European season with another one or two races if needed. I think Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be the backstop of the season from what we can see at the moment. That gives us 10. We’ll find at least five or six good races in the middle.”
Brawn also revealed that a number of European tracks are being evaluated, with the likes of Ferrari-owned Mugello, Imola, and Portimao, all understood under consideration.