Here’s what to expect as F1 restarts its 2020 race season at Austria
The pandemic has pushed F1 back to where it originated 70 years ago. Will a Europe-only, fan-less calendar change the game?
We’ve seen time and again that at the highest level of motorsport, no matter the rule changes or the radical methods introduced to keep fans engagement at a high, the results stack up pretty much as expected. The best prepared always emerge on the top!
Now as the drivers head back to what has been an atypical racing season, Lewis Hamilton, six-time defending champion and widely acknowledged social-media-ambassador for the sport had this to say to the fans. “We’re going to miss you at the races. Driving past empty stands is just going to be not too inspiring, it’s going to be quite lonely, but we’ll know that you guys are still there with us in spirit. So, please keep your fingers crossed for us and stay positive.”
For the first time ever in the history of Formula 1, the opening race will begin in the middle of the year at Red Bull Ring, Austria this weekend. Round 2 will also be hosted at the same venue the subsequent weekend, followed by Round 3 at the Hungaroring in Hungary. That is three consecutive races at three circuits where Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen starts as the outright favourite!
Round 4 and 5 in early August will bring up the 70th year celebrations for the sport at Silverstone, Great Britain. These should traditionally favour Hamilton and Mercedes, as they’ve been almost unbeatable at home in recent years. Round 6 could also favour the defending champs at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, where Valtteri Bottas demonstrated the staggering pace of the Mercedes W11 in January.
The circus then moves to the speed arenas of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium and Autodromo di Monza in Italy for Round 7 and 8, held back to back and running into the first week of September. These two iconic tracks could favour the superior engine power of Scuderia Ferrari’s SF1000 and its star performer Charles Leclerc like it did in 2019.
So far, this gives 2020 a shortened calendar of just eight confirmed races. But with the top three drivers in Formula 1 each having their fair share of strong tracks, we could be in for a belter of a season!
Fans must prepare to take in unusual scenes of masked personnel and empty grandstands on TV, but when the lights go out this Sunday Formula 1’s history will be rewritten for sure.
The writer is a motorsports enthusiast who will cover the 2020 FIA Formula One™ season exclusively for Indulge.