What might a revamped 2020 F1 calendar look like?

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Although the 2020 FIA Formula One season was set to break the record for the number of races with staging 22 rounds, this year’s championship could be one of the shortest one in the last two decades due to the coronavirus crises.

Ahead of the season, Formula One teams and drivers expressed their concerns about how tough it could be to master the record-breaking 2020 season due to the congested calendar. However, things have massively changed since than since the COVID-19 coronavirus took over the lead over the world.

Until mid-February, the coronavirus that orginated in China seemed only a distant danger for non-Asian countries, but it has turned for the worse since. Due to the lack of reaction and measurements, the coronavirus has put the entire world in danger with urging the World Health Organisation to declare the rapidly spreading disease a pandemic. While China has achieved significant results in the battle against the virus, Italy has become the epicenter of the outbreak. At the time of writing, 59138 cases have been recorded in Italy with 5476 deaths registered.

The fluid nature of the situation has heavily impacted the entire world of autosport including the Formula 1 championship. The season was set to kick off in Australia on 15 March with the sport adamant to stage the race at the Albert Park despite to the worsening situation. However, the season-opening round had to be cancelled after a McLaren team member tested positive for the coronavirus. Just a day after the announcement of the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, the FIA and Formula One communicated that the next two rounds in Bahrain and Vietnam would be postponed.

Since the sport had announced the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix earlier, the returning Dutch Grand Prix looked set to start the 71th running of the sport. The governing body and the Commercial Rights’ Holder issued a joint statement on Friday, announcing the postponement of further three races including the Dutch, the Spanish and the Monaco Grand Prix.

The eagerly awaited Dutch Grand Prix was to make its comeback in the sport after a 35-year hiatus on the revamped Zandvoort Circuit. Located in the dunes north of Zandvoort, the track has been redesigned for its comeback, featuring banked section that are twice as big as the ones on the famous Indianapolis circuit.

The Spanish Grand Prix would have been staged at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that played host to the pre-season testing in February. With the circuit’s financial troubles, it seems that the organizers completely abandoned the idea of rescheduling the event for a later slot in the calendar. With the Monte Carlo street circuit requiring a six-week period of building, the Monaco Grand Prix will not be held for the first time since 1954.

After the postponements, the more likely scenario has been that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix could stage the first round of the 2020 championship. However, news have lately emerged that with the situation worsening even more the Baku race could also been cancelled or postponed.

Due to the fluid nature of the current situation, the FIA, Formula One and the race promoters are facing a moving target when working on the rescheduling of the calendar. If the sport announces the cancellation of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the earliest that the 2020 F1 cars can be fired up for the first time in 2020 could be the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal. If the situation improves, the sport could abandon its traditional summer break and use the four-week slot between the Hungarian and the Belgian Grand Prix to reschedule the Dutch round.

With possible two-day race weekends, Autumn could become a congested time for the sport if its intends to reschedule some of the rounds postponed.

Possible 2020 F1 calendar

Canadian Grand Prix14 June
French Grand Prix28 June
Austrian Grand Prix5 July
British Grand Prix19 July
Hungarian Grand Prix2 August
Dutch Grand Prix 16 August
Belgian Grand Prix30 August
Italian Grand Prix6 September
Singapore Grand Prix20 September
Russian Grand Prix27 September
Japanese Grand Prix11 October
United States Grand Prix25 October
Mexico City Grand Prix1 November
Brazilian Grand Prix8 November
Chinese Grand Prix22 November
Bahrain Grand Prix6 December
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix13 December