Some very exciting news is here as Formula 1 bring 4 more races to the 2020 F1 calendar! A month ago, news came that 5 races had been added to the initial 8 races in the F1 calendar. The total races in the calendar had been 13, and now the total has reached 17. The greatest thing about these additions to the revised F1 calendar is the fact that another classic F1 track is returning to the sport with the famous Istanbul Park ready to host an F1 race for the first time since 2011. Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic shaking the world and putting F1 on hold for a whopping 5 months, the revised calendar is looking even better than the normal one.
Of course, it is disappointing that quite a few races are not taking place this season, but you can’t help but realise that F1 will be racing at so many new or returning tracks this year. It’s great to see that F1 has managed so well to make the best out of a bad situation. While I love the revised calendar, I want to know what you guys think about it as well! Let me know in the comments below what you guys think about the revised 2020 F1 calendar!
The F2 season is now fully complete, with the double-header at Bahrain bringing the round count to 12. Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, the F2 calendar had 12 races scheduled, and it now has 12 races once again. Out of the 17 races that have been decided for F1 so far, the races that aren’t in F2 are the races at the Nurburgring, Imola, Istanbul and at Abu Dhabi.
|14||Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020||13 – 15 November||Intercity Istanbul Park|
|15||Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2020||27 – 29 November||Bahrain International Circuit|
|16||Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix 2020||4 – 6 December||Bahrain International Circuit|
|17||Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2020||11 – 13 December||Yas Marina Circuit|
Unfortunately, there is some sad news. Formula 1 has cancelled the Chinese Grand Prix. The race was supposed to take place on the 19th of April. However, was postponed a week before the beginning of winter testing, in mid-February. Formula 1 did not confirm the revised date for the race but has now cancelled the race entirely. Let’s take a look at the official statement from Formula 1. We can also see what Chase Carey, the Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, said about the news.
Statements About The Recent Changes To The 2020 F1 Calendar
Formula 1 confirmed the addition of 4 races to the F1 calendar and the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix in the following statement: “We can confirm that Turkey, Bahrain (hosting two races), and Abu Dhabi will be part of the revised season and want to express our thanks to the hard work of all our promoters and partners in making this 17-race season possible. Sadly, we will not be racing in China this season and want to thank our partner Juss Sports for their support and engagement in recent months and hugely look forward to returning to Shanghai next year.”
Formula 1 also gave some details about spectators attending races. These details are part of the statement about the new races on the calendar. I will refer to these details later on in this post when we talk about fans going to races.
“We can confirm that a number of races in the revised 2020 season will be open to a limited number of fans, including hospitality, and we are working with each promoter to finalise the details. While we want to see as many fans as possible return as soon as it is safe to do so, our priority remains the safety of the Formula 1 community and the communities we visit, and we review fan access on this basis. Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic we continue to maintain close dialogue with all promoters and local authorities to ensure we operate in the safest way possible and monitor each national situation closely – including travel restrictions and local health procedures.”
Chase Carey, the Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, said: “We are proud to announce that Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be part of our 2020 season.
“This year has presented Formula 1 and the world with an unprecedented challenge and we want to pay tribute to everyone across Formula 1, the FIA, the teams, and our partners who have made this possible. While we are all disappointed that we have not been able to return to some of our planned races this year we are confident our season has started well and will continue to deliver plenty of excitement with traditional, as well as new, races that will entertain all our fans.”
The Return of the Turkish Grand Prix, and the Fabulous Istanbul Park
F1 fans who have followed the sport for many many years would be familiar with the Turkish Grand Prix. Its return to F1 is another major talking point of 2020 (as if there aren’t enough already!). It’s even more exciting for these F1 fans to see a 4th classic track and a 5th classic race return to F1 after a considerable gap. Turkey made its debut in F1 2005, with Kimi Raikkonen winning that race with McLaren. The race ran every year for 7 years, and 2011 marked the last Turkish GP held before 2020. Sebastian Vettel stormed to a dominant victory, ahead of his teammate Mark Webber. A year earlier, in 2010, Vettel and Webber had a massive crash that increased tension within Red Bull severely.
Fun fact! Did you know that Sebastian Vettel made his F1 debut at 2006 Turkish GP? He was testing for BMW Sauber in Free Practice Sessions on Friday. He even set the fastest time and topped FP2. In FP1, he set the record for the quickest-ever fine in F1, after receiving a fine for speeding in the pitlane just nine seconds into his career. That’s insane!
This race is one of the many races that Ferrari have dominated. The team secured 3 consecutive victories at Istanbul from 2006 – 2008, with Felipe Massa bringing the win all 3 times. The 2006 Turkish GP marked Massa’s first pole position and his first race win. So Felipe Massa is the only driver to have won the Turkish GP more than once. Apart from Ferrari, the only constructor that has won multiple times at Turkey is McLaren and the only engine manufacturer that has done so is Mercedes. The Mercedes engine won twice with McLaren and once with Brawn GP when Jenson Button took victory in 2009. Some of F1’s most iconic moments have taken place at the Turkish Grand Prix. The reason for this is also due to the track where the Turkish Grand Prix is held.
Be sure to watch the Top 10 Turkish GP Moments on YouTube, as we now talk about the fabulous Istanbul Park.
The Fast and Famed Istanbul Park
The Turkish GP is famous mainly because of one thing. The Intercity Istanbul Park, the circuit where the Turkish GP is held, is one of the most famous circuits in F1. Many compare Istanbul Park with Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, so you know it’s up there. Istanbul Park was designed by Hermann Tilke, one of if not the most renowned Formula 1 circuit designers. Out of all the wonderful tracks he has designed, many feel Istanbul Park is the best. The track’s nature is such that the races are very exciting and interesting, as mentioned earlier. Like Imola, Istanbul Park is one of the very few circuits that run in anti-clockwise. While that is unique and interesting, the main reason that Istanbul Park is famous is the long, high-speed left-hander of Turn 8.
Many drivers pushed it too hard and spun out at Turn 8, especially at the first Turkish GP in 2005. Turn 8 is another reason that many compare Istanbul Park to Spa. Istanbul’s Turn 8 is compared to Pouhon, which is Turn 12 at Spa. This is because they are both facilitate very high speeds and G-force, with multiple apexes being another feature. Pouhon has 2, while Turn 8 at Istanbul has 4 apexes! Both of the corners are left-handers and are bumpy and going downhill. Actually, Tilke incorporated those features into Turn 8 at Istanbul to make the turn even more exciting and fun! It will be absolutely incredible to see how modern Formula 1 cars perform at the Turkish GP, with high downforce and turbo-hybrid engines being two major differences between 2020 F1 cars and the cars that last raced here in 2011.
Another talking point is the fact that the last winner here was Sebastian Vettel. 2020 has been a dismal year for him, especially after his relations with Ferrari have severely deteriorated. While he did perform incredibly well at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix and earned himself Driver of the Day, he was far from the podium, so a win was completely out of sight. However, at Turkey, it’s a completely different story. Only 4 drivers on the 2020 lineup have raced in an F1 car at Turkey. Of course, Sebastian Vettel, who won the last Turkish GP in 2011, has done so. Kimi Raikkonen, the first driver to win at Turkey, has done the same along with, Lewis Hamilton, who won there in 2010, and Sergio Perez, who raced there in 2011, in his debut season in F1.
The rest of the field has some serious catch-up to do, because if Vettel is the last person to win here so far, he will be seeking another one in 2020. However, there is a lot of uncertainty, because we know the SF1000 isn’t capable of a win from the first 6 races of this season. On top of that, the drivers who haven’t raced at Turkey in an F1 car have the sim-racing world to go to, so nobody knows how this race is going to turn out. This the perfect recipe to allow us to enjoy the latest addition to the 2020 F1 calendar. Let me know in the comments below, who do you think will succeed at the 2020 Turkish GP?
The Double-Header At Bahrain
In June, in The First F1ntastic Formula 1 News Roundup, there was news about a possible double-header at Bahrain. Ross Brawn, the Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports and Technical Director, gave some hints about how Bahrain was especially suitable for back-to-back races at the same track. The Bahrain Grand Prix has always been incredibly exciting. The atmosphere at the night race and all the cheers when fabulous overtakes happen at Turn 1; fans love the action and the exhiliration that the Bahrain GP provides. Experiencing this twice is something many would love, because a double-header at Bahrain would spruce up the already amazing 2020 F1 calendar.
Going back to Ross Brawn, he also spoke about the different layouts that the Bahrain International Circuit has. As written in the table at the beginning of the post, the BIC is the circuit where the Bahrain Grand Prix is held. Hermann Tilke designed this track as well. In fact, he designed BIC before Istanbul Park. F1 came to Bahrain in 2004, and to Turkey in 2005, as mentioned earlier. Herman Tilke incorporated 5 different track layouts, which are there in the picture below, into the track. There are an oval layout and a drag strip as well, but that isn’t that relevant.
The layout that is currently used in F1 is the Grand Prix Circuit. There is an Outer Circuit and an Inner Circuit, and there is also a Short Circuit. In the F1 game, players can race at the Grand Prix and the Short Circuits. Lastly, there is the Endurance Circuit, which is used for Endurance races. In 2010, the Bahrain Grand Prix was the opening round of the 2010 F1 Season. In honour of F1’s Diamond Jubilee, which was F1’s 60th Anniversary, the Endurance Circuit was used for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Endurance Circuit is the longest version of the track and is 6.299 km long.
Ross Brawn spoke about how a double-header at Bahrain could take place with 2 different layouts of the track. One race would have the Grand Prix layout, and the other race would have a different layout. That would have made things even more exciting. It would be incredibly unique, and I’m sure would be a fan favourite. Let me know in the comments below, would a double-header with different track layouts be your preference or just a normal double-header? The F1 bosses chose a normal double-header because that’s what’s going to happen. Different layouts or not, two races at Bahrain is more than enough to make 2020 a year to remember, and I’m sure the 2020 F1 calendar will one of the best in history.
Manhattan of the Middle East – Abu Dhabi
Since its F1 debut in 2009, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been known for being the perfect season finisher, and as of now, it is the last race on the 2020 F1 calendar as well. 2011, 2012 and 2013 were the only years since 2009 in which Brazil ended the season instead. Many know the Abu Dhabi GP for the excitement and anticipation at the start, and burnouts, fireworks, and celebrations at the end. This race is a day-night race, meaning it starts in the day and ends in the night. The race starts at 17:10 local time, in the evening, when the sun is still out. Since the race lasts 2 hours,vat the end of the race it’s dark. This is unique to the Abu Dhabi GP; this has never happened for any other race in F1 history and has been a feature for Abu Dhabi every year.
A race can never be good if the circuit is bad, and that’s where the Yas Marina Circuit shines. When the sun goes down and the skies are dark, the circuit looks more glamorous than ever. Of course, as a track for the racers, it is nothing less than the rest as well; this circuit is another one of the famed creations of Hermann Tilke. But first, let’s look at the track from the fans’ perspective. The grandstands. The grandstands incredibly impressive, because they are very big and very well-placed. Take the North Grandstand, for example. The North Grandstand is the one in the picture above. It is a massive grandstand that overlooks mainly the tight hairpin of Turn 7 but also stretches out to a little bit onto the long straight after the hairpin and the chicane before the hairpin.
The North Grandstand is incredibly well-placed because Turn 7 is the slowest corner on the track, so the fans can take a good look at the cars. It is a big grandstand, so many fans can enjoy those seats. and lastly, it looks amazing, especially from far away. There are multiple grandstands throughout the track that look as beautiful along the well-lit track at night. But there is no point of talking about the beauty of the Yas Marina Circuit without talking about the hotel section.
The hotel section is the part of the Yas Marina Circuit in which the Hotel W Abu Dhabi is clearly visible. Turns 17, 18 & 19 are the corners which are part of the hotel section, although Turns 18 & 19 are the main corners in this section. The hotel has two towers that are placed on either side of the track, and are connected by a link bridge that goes over the track. This means that when drivers go through the hotel section, they actually drive under the bridge. This is incredibly unique, which is another reason it’s a great thing that Abu Dhabi is on the F1 calendar.
As mentioned earlier, the Abu Dhabi GP is know for being a great season finished. However, this year, like 2011, ’12 and ’13, the season finisher may be a different race. Formula 1 aimed to make the revised 2020 F1 calendar consist of 15 – 18 races. Unlike the F2 calendar, as of now, the F1 calendar is not complete. So stay on the lookout for new posts, because there may be news coming soon about more races coming on the F1 calendar!