2020 F1 latest news

2020 F1 latest news

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head, changing the way we live, with all sort of mass gatherings cancelled and that includes Formula 1. The situation is constantly changing, so here’s a resume of what is happening, the latest news in the world of Formula 1.

The first effects on our sport could be seen even before winter testing. On 12 February, the day after the World Health Organisation had upped the threat level, the decision was taken to postpone the Chinese GP, which was due to be held on 19 April. China was experiencing a major health crisis and this was the only possible decision to ensure the safety of everyone in the sport and its fans.

Winter testing went ahead as normal in Spain, from 19 to 21 and 26 to 28 February, although Coronavirus was the top topic in the paddock, although at this stage it had not reached pandemic status.

Cancelled races

Things were about to get worse and the first round of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, had to be cancelled after a McLaren mechanic tested positive for Covid-19. He was quarantined and the team officially withdrew from the event. Discussions between the teams, the sport’s governing body and commercial rights holder and the local authorities led to the painful but only possible decision to cancel the event.

It would be impossible to find another date to race Down Under this year, even if the pandemic subsides. The race in Monaco is also cancelled, the first time the Grand Prix won’t be held on the streets there since 1954. Same for the French GP, called off on the 27th of April.

Postponed races

However, plans are afoot to try and reschedule those races that are currently postponed. Those are Bahrain, the aforementioned China, the new venue in Vietnam, the Spanish GP in Barcelona, the Azerbaijan GP in Baku and the Canadian GP in Montreal.

The FIA, the commercial rights holder and the race promoters are monitoring the Covid 19 situation, the idea being to squeeze in as many races as possible this year, as long as it is safe to do so. Currently, the first GP could be the Austrian Grand Prix, at the Red Bull Ring , scheduled for the 5th of July.

Here’s the original 2020 Formula 1 calendar, indicating which races have been postponed or cancelled

  • 15 March: Australian GP – CANCELLED
  • 22 March: Bahrain GP – POSTPONED
  •  5 April: Vietnam GP – POSTPONED
  • 19 April: Chinese GP – POSTPONED
  •  3 May: Dutch GP – CANCELLED
  •  10 May: Spanish GP – POSTPONED
  • 24 May: Monaco GP – CANCELLED
  •  7 June: Azerbaijan GP – POSTPONED
  • 14 June: Canadian GP – POSTPONED
  • 28 June: French GP – CANCELLED
  •  5 July: Austrian GP
  • 19 July: British GP
  •  2 August: Hungarian GP
  • 30 August: Belgian GP
  •  6 September: Italian GP
  • 20 September: Singapore GP
  • 27 September: Russian GP
  • 11 October: Japanese GP
  • 25 October: USA GP
  •  1 November: Mexican GP
  • 15 November: Brazilian GP
  • 29 November: Abu Dhabi GP

It could start in July

The current suggestion is that the first race could be the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, on 5 July, with a total of 15 or 18 races taking place, starting in summer.

Calendario di F1 GP della Scuderia AlphaTauri
Credit: formula1.com

A series of races in Europe would run from July to early September and then run to November in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas. The season finale would features the two Middle East venues, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi hosting races in December. This is just a suggestion and a revised calendar will be published when circumstances permit it.

Clearly this plan is subject to changes depending on the Covid 19 situation which is changing all the time, so that there are many unknown factors to be taken into consideration.

Virtual Grand Prix Series

To feed the need for racing among the fans and to give everyone something to smile about, with what is a terrible and complex situation globally, Formula 1 has set up the Virtual Grand Prix Series, a series of Esport events run on the official “F1 2019” Codemasters platform. Some F1 drivers are expected to take part, up against celebrities and influencers, on weekends when a real GP should have taken place.

New regulations postponed until 2022

The teams, FI and the FIA have unanimously agreed to defer the introduction of the revolutionary new technical regulations due to be introduced in 2021 until 2022. The details will be thrashed out in the coming weeks, possibly freezing other components as well as the chassis itself. Once agreed on, the proposals will have to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

Those new regulations feature less complicated aerodynamics than the current cars, with the aim of cleaning up the air flow. It will result in a loss of around half the current amount of downforce, but the clean air behind the car should allow cars to run closer together, even in fast corners, thus producing more overtaking opportunities. Another big change for ’22 is the move to 18 inch wheel rims.

Overall, the new rules are aimed at bunching up the field from front to back in terms of performance levels, at least in theory, thus creating closer racing with more uncertainty about the final result.

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