Formula 1’s 2020 season likely won’t kick off until mid-June as it appears now the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, scheduled for June 7, is set to be postponed. Baku’s postponement would earmark the Canadian GP on June 14 as the season-opener.
Following the official postponement of a number of races over the past 10 days off the back of the failed attempt to host the Australian GP, the first race currently on the calendar that has not been addressed is Azerbaijan. However, RACER understands the event in Baku is set to be postponed, with an announcement due as early as Monday.
The Baku City Circuit is a logistical challenge to build in the heart of the Azeri capital, and, as a result, requires a significant amount of time for preparation. But the current uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic means guarantees of a race date cannot be given and so it is set to be postponed.
So far, only the Monaco GP has confirmed it is cancelled for 2020 as it is unable to host the race on another date; while Australia is unlikely to be rescheduled due to the impact of building the temporary circuit on Albert Park.
Once Baku’s postponement is confirmed, the opening race becomes the Canadian GP, with Montreal originally set to form the second part of a June back-to-back with Baku.
F1 is replacing all postponed races with eSports events, starting today with the virtual Bahrain Grand Prix that features current F1 drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi as well as former drivers Nico Hulkenberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez, Anthony Davidson and Johnny Herbert.