Official: F1 confirms eight-race European start to 2020 season

Following the cancellation or postponement of the first 10 races on the original calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, F1 will finally restart on July 5 with the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
The summer schedule is as follows: July 5 – Austrian; July 12 – Austria II (Steiermark GP); July 19 – Hungarian; August 2 – British; August 9 – British II (70th Anniversary GP); August 16 – Spanish; August 30 – Belgian; September 6 – Italian.

The revised calendar represents a challenging eight races in 10 weekends. All will be held without fans.

Formula 2 and Formula 3 will also run the start of its championships in tandem with the F1 calendar.

Commenting on the calendar, CEO Chase Carey said: “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.

“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.”

Since the catastrophic postponement of the Australian Grand Prix in mid-March after a member of the McLaren team tested positive, F1 has worked diligently to put plans in place to host events.

This will include rigorous and regular testing of all on-site staff, that will be reduced to 80 per team for each event, and the creation of a ‘biosphere-atmosphere’, as was described by F1’s managing director motorsports Ross Brawn.

Beyond the European schedule, F1 remains in negotiations with other venues across Asia, the Far East, the Americas and the Middle East as it seeks to produce a hoped-for minimum 15-to-18 race calendar, but is subject to the vagaries of changing restrictions in the countries concerned.

At present, the plan is to end with races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi on December 6 and 13 respectively.

Via a statement, F1 added: “Over the past two months Formula 1 has been working closely with all partners, authorities, the FIA and the 10 teams to create a revised calendar that will allow a return to racing in a way that is safe for the communities we visit and the entire Formula 1 community.

“We have now completed the agreements with our promoters, and are able to publish the opening 2020 schedule that will begin in Austria on 3-5 July.

“Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, we will be finalising the details of the wider calendar and hope to publish that in the coming weeks with an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before we complete our season in December.

“As stated previously we currently expect the opening races to be closed events but hope fans will be able to join our events again when it is safe to do so.

“The opening calendar will include holding two consecutive events at the same circuit one week apart as well as a number of back-to-back events.

“The health and safety of all involved will continue to be priority number one, with Formula 1 and the FIA having a robust and detailed plan to ensure our races maintain the highest levels of safety with strict procedures in place.”

Source: Gpfans