Just a few months ago, we weren’t sure if we’d get a half-decent Formula 1 season in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Now nearing the end of July, we’ve had three GPs and plenty of races still being added for the months ahead. Three more iconic circuits have just been confirmed for 2020 bringing back names fans have long been asking for — Nürburgring, Portimao and Imola.
In case someone didn’t know for sure, the Nürburgring round will obviously be on the GP circuit and not the 22km Nordschleife. It’s still a great circuit with some interesting overtaking opportunities and fast corners. This circuit hasn’t been off the calendar for too long with the last race being held in 2013 where Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finished P2 & P3 driving for Lotus.
The Portimao circuit in Portugal or Autodromo Internacional do Algarve to give its full name, became known to me as the track where The Grand Tour carried out the track test between the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren P1. That very same circuit is now going to host its first-ever F1 Grand Prix and should make for some interesting racing with its wide bends. Also, this marks the return of F1 to Portugal for the first time since 1996 and top it off, it’s going to be open to fans (if conditions remain stable).
Finally, we have our THIRD Italian GP for the 2020 calendar – Imola. This iconic circuit will be making its return to F1 after a gap of 14 years. It’s been hosting races since 1953 and was renamed as the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in 1988 after Enzo’s passing. The circuit has undergone major renovations since 2006 to make it suitable for modern-day F1. For many, this circuit remains memorable for its darkest moment, i.e., the 1994 Grand Prix. This is the race weekend that witnessed the fatal crashes of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna as well as the near-fatal crash of Rubens Barrichello. The track had been revised shortly after and continued to host races for many more years. Considering Lewis Hamilton, who is on his way to surpass almost every F1 win record, was hugely influenced by Senna as a child, it’ll be interesting to see if he and other drivers do something special to mark the sport’s return to Imola.
The Imola GP will also present a new challenge to the drivers and teams by way of a shorter weekend – two days only. No Friday practices. Not that they needed any more of a challenge considering Kimi’s the only driver on the grid who has F1 race experience around this circuit.
Portimao will offer a similar challenge since it’ll be the first F1 GP to be hosted there even though some teams have used it for testing. The Nürburing circuit will be less of a challenge for the teams but most of the current driver lineup hasn’t raced here (in F1 cars) either.
Here’s the updated calendar for F1 2020:
The announcement for these three races also came with an update on other potential races for the 2020 calendar. It is no surprise but it has been confirmed that the American leg of F1 will not be possible this year which means Brazil, USA, Mexico and Canada are out of the equation. F1 higher-ups had already shared their plans to host the final races in Bahrain and UAE. Despite the circumstances, it seems we are on track for at least a 15-race season with 13 rounds already confirmed.
Stayed tuned and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for more updates.