F1 confirms plans for season launch in Europe

The Formula One motor-racing series has confirmed today (Tuesday) that its season will begin next month in Austria as it announced an eight-race European calendar that will include two British grands prix at Silverstone.

Austria’s Red Bull Ring will stage consecutive events on July 3-5 and July 10-12, before the series heads to Hungary on July 17-19.

Silverstone will then host two rounds of its own from July 31 to August 2 and from August 7-9, with an event planned at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya the following week.

The Belgian Grand Prix is pencilled in for Spa-Francorchamps from August 28-30 and the European swing will conclude from September 4-6 with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

F1 was forced to delay the start of its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and today’s announcement outlines the series’ first part of a revised calendar. F1 will now finalise the details of the wider calendar and hopes to publish that in the coming weeks. It is expected that the complete calendar will feature 15-18 races, with the season set to conclude in December.

Events are currently scheduled to be held behind closed doors and F1 said it hopes fans will be able to attend when it is safe to do so.

F1 chairman and chief executive 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.”

The confirmation of the European calendar comes after organisers of the Dutch Grand Prix said last week that it will not stage its event this year. The Dutch Grand Prix has not been held since 1985 and organisers said they would rather wait an extra year and stage the event with fans than mark its return at an empty track.

F1 was forced to cancel its season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March and a number of other events have since been postponed or cancelled.

Image: Silverstone