Formula One has announced details of the opening races of a reorganised 2020 calendar, which will see the season commence with an Austrian Grand Prix double-header in early July.
Two triple headers plus a double header will form the opening eight races of this season, across Europe.
The first race in Red Bull Ring, Austria will be held across the weekend of 3-5 July, with teams gathering for a second race weekend just a week later between 10-12 July.
Hungarian Grand Prix will then follow as the last of an opening triple header on 19 July, ahead of a week’s break prior to a double bill of the British GP at Silverstone on 2 and 9 August.
The latter event on 9 August will be named the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in honour of the fact that this season marks the 70th year of F1 and first ever race which took place at Silverstone.
The Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, will then complete the second triple header across weekend of 14-16 August, having been postponed from its original dates of 8-10 May due to Coronavirus pandemic.
Belgian and Italian Grands Prix will then remain as scheduled on dates of 30 August and 6 September respectively.
F1 CEO, Chase Carey spoke of “working tirelessly with all our partners, the FIA and the teams” in order to create this revised opening set of races and commence the season after an enforced delay.
Carey also wished “to thank every promoter and partner for their support and ongoing commitment to Formula 1.”
Future races will be announced at a later date as the sport continues to monitor the ongoing fluidity of the pandemic, with expectation to announce between seven to ten more races within coming weeks which will see the season reach a climax in December.
On future races, Carey stated his hope to have fans attending events “once it is safe to do,” whilst acknowledging that the “return of Formula 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world.”
All eight events will be held behind closed doors with strict safety procedures in place at each event, and will be supported by Formula Two (F2) and Formula Three (F3) who will to adhere to the safety procedures in place.
F2 and F3 CEO, Bruno Michel welcomed the announcement despite “unfortunate” reality that fans won’t be able to attend the opening rounds, saying;
“First of all, I would like to thank Formula 1TM and the FIA for making this revised opening calendar possible in such difficult circumstances. I am very pleased to confirm that F2 and F3 will be able to race alongside F1 in the first eight events.
“It is unfortunate that currently we don’t expect fan attendance in these opening events, but we are however glad that we are able to bring them the entertainment of our racing in the safest way possible.
“We will also follow the very detailed safety plan put in place by Formula 1 and the FIA as our priority is to make sure no risks are taken.
“Our 2020 season will continue beyond Monza. We will announce the second part of our calendar as soon as possible.”
F1 Steps to Minimise Risk
In order to protect the health and safety of F1 personnel, these following five steps will be taken in order to minimise the risk of positive tests for Coronavirus;
- Regular testing – Personnel will be tested before travelling to event and during the event itself with extra screenings on arrival to circuit, whilst those testing positive prior to departure won’t be permitted to attend.
- Closed events – Spectators, guests nor partners will be allowed entry to circuit which will only be open to essential personnel like drivers and mechanics for example.
- Minimal personnel – Teams, FIA, suppliers and F1 won’t be sending their usual number of personnel in order to minimise contact and must isolate in their team units.
- Isolated travel – Personnel who have a negative test certificate will be permitted to travel in isolated transport ideally on charter flights with private transfers between circuit, hotels and airports.
- Social distancing – Social distancing rules will be enforced throughout with alterations to various race weekend activities like parc ferme, podium and media obligations.
First eight rounds of 2020 F1, F2 and F3 calendars;
Austrian Grand Prix (Race One): 3-5 July
Austrian Grand Prix (Race Two): 10-12 July
Hungarian Grand Prix: 17-19 July
British Grand Prix (Race One): 31 July – 2 August
British Grand Prix (Race Two): 7-9 August
Spanish Grand Prix: 14-16 August
Belgian Grand Prix: 28-30 August
Italian Grand Prix: 4-6 September