Formula One is making its return on the first weekend of July, tentatively kicking off eight races thus far. What’s interesting is not just that they’ll be held with no fans, but also that they’ll include two double-headers.
F1 is difficult to run in a pandemic for a number of reasons, but two that spring up to mind are the immediate cost and the general difficulty of travel. And modern F1 has become very much about travel. Races crisscross the globe, never running more than one event per location. At best, teams get to enjoy races being held in the same general corner of the world, but even last year teams had to go from Monaco to Montreal back to France again, and later in the season followed Italy with Singapore and then back to Russia before going to Japan. Doing this amidst a global pandemic is not easy!
As such, I’m not surprised that this new 2020 schedule opens with a double header in Austria and then later has a double at the British Grand Prix:
For fans who have watched as the great old circuits of Europe have been replaced with cookie-cutter tracks in whatever new petrostate wants to get on TV, this isn’t bad news.
As noted in F1's tweet, this isn’t the full schedule as F1 plans it. It’s just the start of what they’ve got. More races are to come.
All of this comes after F1 had a fairly rocky start to 2020, planning on getting things going just as coronavirus lockdowns went global. Not great for a global sport! The initial opener, the Australian GP, was on up until the last moment, the Bahrain GP was going to be held with no fans, and then eventually everything got put on hold until now.
And the no fans thing sort of makes sense. Have you tried buying an actual ticket to a race?