The 2020 Formula 1 season will start on July 5 in Austria, the first of a group eight races in Europe that will mark the end of the world championship’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Only the opening eight rounds have been confirmed so far, but F1 will hold all eight within 10 weeks, starting with a triple header that consists of two races in Austria and one in Hungary. The opening two races are to be known as the ‘Austrian Grand Prix’ and then the ‘Steiermark Grand Prix’ – the German name for the Styria area in which the Red Bull Ring is located.
After those three races on July 5, 12 and 19, there will be a one-week break before F1 heads to Silverstone for another pair of races after elite sports received an exemption from the UK Government to avoid quarantine restrictions. The first of the two races at Silverstone will be the British Grand Prix on August 2, followed by the ‘Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix’ on August 9 and then the Spanish Grand Prix on August 16.
Another one week gap will follow before the Belgian Grand Prix (August 30) and Italian Grand Prix (September 6) will take place on their original dates. All eight races are scheduled to take place behind closed doors.
Agreements have been completed with all promoters and the calendar approved by the FIA, while the support categories Formula 2 and Formula 3 will also race on the same calendar. Given international uncertainty, any races outside of Europe have yet to be finalized but F1 plans on doing so in the next couple of weeks and still targets a final calendar of 15-18 races between now and December.
“In the past weeks we have been working tirelessly with all our partners, the FIA and the teams to create a revised opening 2020 calendar allowing us to restart racing in the safest possible way,” F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said. “We are pleased to be able to set out our opening eight race calendar today and look forward to publishing our full calendar in the coming weeks.
“I want to thank every promoter and partner for their support and ongoing commitment to Formula 1. While we currently expect the season to commence without fans at our races we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back once it is safe to do, but we know the return of Formula 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world.”