The first eight races of the 2020 calendar were announced last week and now F1 motorsports boss Ross Brown has shared some plans for the rest of this season. He’s made it clear that Abu Dhabi will be the closer for the season along with Bahrain hosting at least one if not two races in differing track layouts.
Other European venues are being considered to add to the count such as Mugello and Imola in Italy, Portimao in Portugal and Hockenheim to name a few. “What we really want to avoid is announcing and changing it,” says Brawn. “We also need to announce it in enough time so people can make plans. We hope some races in the second half of the season will have spectators, so we need time for ticket sales and promotion to take place.”
F1 may have ditched reverse-grid qualifying races for 2020, but the idea is still on the table for 2021. Mercedes were the ones who voted against implementing it this year. The subtle changes for the upcoming F1 races will focus more on the safety and precautions in regards to COVID-19. Some of the changes discussed are as follows:-
No flashy podium ceremonies: They can’t have people presenting trophies as that would violate social distancing norms and Brawn says they have figured something out. One of the options is for the cars to line up on the track with the drivers standing in front of them.
Essentials only on the grid: The drivers won’t be grouping together for the national anthem while the FIA Future Stars will be attending virtually. Even the usual crowd of technicians and support staff around the cars when they line up for the formation lap will be drastically reduced.
Driver’s parade shelved: “The drivers’ parade won’t happen as we can’t put 20 drivers on the back of a truck and take it round the track, so instead we will interview with each one of them in front of the garage,” says Brawn. “There’s plenty of ways we can engage without compromising health and safety.” Given that most events might not even have live audiences at the venue, this exercise would be futile anyway.
Shortly after Ross Brawn announced plans for a few extra European rounds, F1 confirmed that the Baku, Singapore and Suzuka races have been cancelled for 2020. The Azerbaijan and Singapore GPs are city circuits and require far more planning to host, making it harder to hold the races while ensuring the safety of all involved. Meanwhile, travel restrictions for Japan make it an unreliable option and thus it has been struck off too. Pretty much the entire Asian leg of F1 might get cancelled for 2020 as the Chinese and Vietnamese GPs are officially postponed.
For now, I’m just looking forward to the season opener at the Red Bull Ring on July 5. What drinks and foods will be you stocking up for watching the race? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for more updates and automotive content.