2020 Formula One World Championship
|2020 FIA Formula One
Formula 2 Championship
FIA Formula 3 Championship
The 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship is a motor racing championship for Formula One cars which marks the 70th anniversary of the first Formula One season.[a] The championship is recognised by the governing body of international motorsport, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars. Drivers and teams are scheduled to compete for the titles of World Drivers' Champion and World Constructors' Champion respectively.
The championship was originally due to start in March, but was postponed until July in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was due to be contested over a record 22 Grands Prix, but the exact number is now uncertain as some races have been cancelled and there is no certainty that all postponed races can be held on later dates. The season started in July with the Austrian Grand Prix.
|Entrant||Constructor||Chassis||Power unit||Race drivers|
|Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||C39||Ferrari 065||7
| Kimi Räikkönen
|Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||AlphaTauri-Honda||AT01||Honda RA620H||10
| Pierre Gasly
|Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||SF1000||Ferrari 065||5
| Sebastian Vettel
|Haas F1 Team||Haas-Ferrari||VF-20||Ferrari 065||8
| Romain Grosjean
|McLaren F1 Team||McLaren-Renault||MCL35||Renault E-Tech 20||4
| Lando Norris
Carlos Sainz Jr.
|Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||F1 W11||Mercedes-AMG F1 M11||44
| Lewis Hamilton
|BWT Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||RP20||BWT Mercedes[b]||11
| Sergio Pérez[c]
|Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull Racing-Honda||RB16||Honda RA620H||23
| Alexander Albon
|Renault DP World F1 Team||Renault||R.S.20||Renault E-Tech 20||3
| Daniel Ricciardo
|Williams Racing||Williams-Mercedes||FW43||Mercedes-AMG F1 M11||6
| Nicholas Latifi
Free practice drivers
Across the season two drivers drove as a test or third driver in free practice sessions. Jack Aitken drove for Williams at one Grand Prix, while Robert Kubica drove for Alfa Romeo Racing at three Grands Prix.
Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, renamed Toro Rosso as "Scuderia AlphaTauri". The team uses the constructor name "AlphaTauri". The name is derived from Red Bull's AlphaTauri fashion brand.
After a year's absence, Esteban Ocon returned to racing in Formula One after signing a contract with Renault, replacing Nico Hülkenberg. Robert Kubica left Williams at the end of the 2019 championship and joined Alfa Romeo Racing as a reserve driver. Nicholas Latifi, the 2019 Formula 2 Championship runner-up, replaced Kubica at Williams.
A day before the British Grand Prix weekend, Racing Point driver Sergio Pérez tested positive for the SARS-2 coronavirus and was ruled out of the race weekend. After seeking clarification from Public Health England, Racing Point stated that they intended to let Pérez race in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix pending a negative SARS-2 coronavirus test. This re-test came back positive and so Pérez was also unable to take part in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. He was replaced by Nico Hülkenberg for both races, who had raced for the team's predecessor Force India in 2012 and from 2014 to 2016, and last raced in Formula One at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Twenty-two Grands Prix were originally scheduled for the 2020 World Championship. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing frequent revisions to the calendar. Currently, a rescheduled European leg of thirteen races has been confirmed, eleven races have been cancelled and four have been postponed and/or are pending confirmation of a race date. The length of each race is the minimum number of laps that exceeds a total distance of 305 km (189.5 mi). As per the sporting regulations, a minimum of eight races must take place for the season to be considered a championship.[d]
|Round||Grand Prix||Circuit||Race date|
|1||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg||5 July|
|2||Styrian Grand Prix||12 July|
|3||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyoród||19 July[e]|
|4||British Grand Prix||Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone||2 August[f]|
|5||70th Anniversary Grand Prix||9 August|
|6||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló||16 August[g]|
|7||Belgian Grand Prix||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot||30 August[h]|
|8||Italian Grand Prix||Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza||6 September|
|9||Tuscan Grand Prix||Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero||13 September|
|10||Russian Grand Prix||Sochi Autodrom, Sochi||27 September|
|11||Eifel Grand Prix||Nürburgring, Nürburg||11 October|
|12||Portuguese Grand Prix||Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimão||25 October|
|13||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola||1 November|
The following rounds were included on the original calendar published by the World Motor Sport Council, but were cancelled, postponed or are pending confirmation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
After purchasing the commercial rights to the sport from CVC Capital Partners in January 2017, Liberty Media announced plans to expand the Formula One calendar using a concept they termed "destination races" and modelled on the Singapore Grand Prix. Under the "destination races" model, Grands Prix would be established in or near key tourist destinations and integrate racing, entertainment and social functions with the aim of making the sport more accessible and appealing to a wider audience. Several countries and venues announced plans to bid for a Grand Prix, with two bids being successful:
- The Vietnamese Grand Prix was announced as the first new race created under Liberty's management. The race was given a provisional date of April 2020 and was planned to take place in the capital Hanoi on the Hanoi Street Circuit, but was later postponed.
- The Dutch Grand Prix was due to be revived, with the race scheduled to take place at the Circuit Zandvoort. The 2020 race would have marked the first time the Dutch Grand Prix has been run since 1985. However, the race was later cancelled.
Liberty Media initially expected that the 2020 calendar would consist of twenty-one Grands Prix and that any new races would come at the expense of existing events, but later negotiated an agreement with the teams to allow up to twenty-two Grands Prix. Several further changes were made between the 2019 and 2020 calendars, with the German Grand Prix discontinued and the Mexican Grand Prix rebranded as the "Mexico City Grand Prix".
Drivers who participate in free practice sessions are eligible for additional FIA Super Licence points. Any driver who completes a minimum 100 km (62 mi) during a free practice session receives an additional Super Licence point on the condition that they do not commit a driving infraction. Drivers may only accrue ten Super Licence points per year from free practice sessions.
As a result of the expanded calendar, the two pre-season tests due to take place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya were reduced in length from four days to three days each, whilst the two in-season tests that took place at Bahrain International Circuit and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2019 have been discontinued. Teams were no longer allowed to hide their cars during testing. The amount of time in which car mechanics are not allowed to work on the car has been extended from eight to nine hours.
In order to reduce the risk of punctures, the last 50 mm (2.0 in) of the front wing can no longer contain any metal. Brake ducts can no longer be outsourced and must be made and designed by the team. The amount of fuel that can be outside of the fuel tank has been reduced from 2 litres (3.5 imp pt) to 250 millilitres (0.44 imp pt). The level of driver aids for race starts was decreased.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The season was heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an announcement prior to the start of the championship that the Chinese Grand Prix would be postponed. Italian-based teams Ferrari and AlphaTauri expressed concern about the spread of the disease and its effect on the championship. As Italy suffered one of the worst outbreaks of the virus, both teams were concerned about the ability of their staff to leave the quarantine zone established in northern Italy and to enter host nations. Pre-season testing in Barcelona proceeded as planned, with all teams and drivers completing the six days of testing.
Ross Brawn, the managing director of the sport, announced that Grands Prix would not go ahead if a team were blocked from entering a host nation, but that events could go ahead if a team voluntarily chose not to enter a host nation. In early March, organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix stated that the event would be "participants-only" and that no spectators would be allowed.
Race postponements and cancellations
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was expected to go ahead and all teams and drivers arrived at the venue as planned. Three days before the race was due to take place, McLaren announced their withdrawal from the event after a team member tested positive for the virus. This led to the Grand Prix being cancelled altogether the following morning. Later that day, it was announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix would be postponed rather than closed to spectators, as would the inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix. Formula One and the FIA released a joint statement saying that they "expect to begin the Championship in Europe at the end of May" but that this timeline "will be regularly reviewed". On 19 March, the FIA announced that the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix had all been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic. In the statement, the FIA said they now expect to begin the season "as soon as it is safe to do so after May" and that the situation would continue to be monitored. The organisers of the Monaco race, Automobile Club de Monaco, clarified that the race had been cancelled. This means that Formula One would not race in Monaco for the first time since 1954. Four days later, organisers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix announced that the race had been postponed.
In early April, organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix announced the race's postponement. Later in the month, the French Grand Prix organisers confirmed that the race would not be held in 2020, and the managing director of Silverstone Circuit stated that should the British Grand Prix go ahead, it would be without spectators. In May, organisers of the Hungarian Grand Prix announced that their race would use the same model. The sport's plans to resume competition called for a ban on team motorhomes and a rigid testing regime to stop any outbreak of the virus. The Dutch Grand Prix was cancelled entirely in late May, with organisers of the event stating that they would prefer to host the revived race with spectators in attendance in 2021 rather than without spectators in 2020. Formula One confirmed the cancellation of the Azerbaijan, Singapore, and Japanese Grands Prix in June. Organisers of the Azerbaijan and Singapore races cited the difficulty of assembling the infrastructure required for a street circuit as the reason for their cancellation, while the Japanese Grand Prix was cancelled because of the Japanese government's travel restrictions. In July the Brazilian, Canadian, Mexico City and United States Grands Prix were formally cancelled amidst rising virus cases and travel restrictions in the Americas. However, organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix disputed the claims of Formula One Management and were unhappy with their race being cancelled without further consultation.
The annual summer break, where factories shut down for two weeks, was brought forward from August to March and April. Teams nominated a three-week period to close with the aim of making room for races later in the year. At the end of March, it was announced that for the first time the factory shut down would additionally apply to power unit manufacturers. The factory shut down period was later extended to a total of nine weeks for competitors and seven weeks for power unit manufacturers.
In March, teams agreed that the 2020 Championship could run into early 2021 to ensure the running of as many races as possible. Such a move would also ensure that eight Grands Prix could be held, over three different continents, thereby meeting the minimum number of races needed for the season to qualify as a World Championship. Ross Brawn later suggested that a rescheduled calendar of 18 or 19 races would be possible should racing begin in July, and that the opening round "is most likely to be in Europe", potentially without spectators. He also raised the possibility of Grand Prix events being reduced to two days in order to ease pressure on logistical operations. However, Alfa Romeo Racing managing director Frédéric Vasseur cautioned that a condensed calendar could escalate the costs of competing and put smaller teams at risk of financial collapse. This was reiterated by other teams, who pointed out that the race sanctioning fees paid by event organisers contributed to the prize money awarded to all teams at the end of the year. This money is awarded proportionally based on the teams' World Constructors' Championship positions and forms a significant part of a team's budget for the upcoming year. With fewer races and the prize structure remaining fixed, teams were concerned that they would suffer a significant financial loss. In a statement in late April, Formula One CEO Chase Carey announced that the intention is to begin the season on 5 July and that the target is to hold between 15 and 18 races overall.
In June, the first eight races of a rescheduled calendar were confirmed, with the season expected to begin on 5 July with the Austrian Grand Prix. This revised calendar included two newly-named one-off events — both second races at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone — known as the Styrian and the 70th Anniversary Grands Prix respectively. Ross Brawn announced that the eight-round calendar was expected to grow and that the sport was considering races at venues that were not on the original calendar or using multiple configurations of existing circuits to achieve the goal of fifteen Grands Prix. On 10 July, the Russian Grand Prix was re-added to the calendar on its originally scheduled date, and the first Tuscan Grand Prix was announced at the Mugello Circuit, the first time the circuit will host a Formula One World Championship race.
In July, the return of the Nürburgring and the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari to the calendar was revealed, along with the debut of the Algarve International Circuit. These races were named the Eifel and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix respectively, with the return of the Portuguese Grand Prix for the first time since the 1996 season. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will take place over a shortened two-day weekend, with a single 90 minute practice session taking place on Saturday morning. This marks the first race at the Nürburgring and at the Imola Circuit since the 2013 and 2006 seasons respectively, and also the first time that a country hosts three Grands Prix since the 1982 season.
The pandemic required changes to the format of a race weekend, which included abandoning the drivers' parade and pre-race assembly for the host venue's national anthem. A modified podium ceremony was planned for after races. The FIA introduced limits to the number of team personnel who could be on the starting grid to prepare cars and changed the cut-off times for cars to leave pit lane to minimise the amount of time team personnel spent on the grid. Tyre supplier Pirelli was also required to provide an identical allocation of tyre compounds to all teams and drivers. Where Pirelli were previously required to announce compounds for a race several weeks in advance, this window was reduced to two weeks, allowing them to respond to anticipated changes to the calendar.
In June, Formula One launched the We Race As One initiative to fight global inequity and the impact of COVID-19. The initiative used a rainbow logo, with the #WeRaceAsOne hashtag, and featured prominent We Race As One branding on vehicles (including the safety car) and signage on track. Formula One and several teams launched projects or fundraising efforts in support of the initiative.
Protests against car legality
Ahead of the season opening Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull launched a protest against the Mercedes F1 W11's dual axis steering – a system where the driver can adjust the toe of the car by pulling and pushing on the steering wheel. The system was found to be legal for 2020 but it was banned by the FIA from 2021 onward.
After the Styrian Grand Prix, Renault launched a protest against the brake ducts of Racing Point's car, the RP20, alleging that Racing Point had copied the brake ducts from the Mercedes F1 W10 – the car used in 2019 by Mercedes. Similar protests would be launched after the Hungarian and British Grands Prix with the verdict being published between the British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix. The ruling concluded that Racing Point had illegally copied the brake ducts of the Mercedes F1 W10 and Racing Point were subsequently docked 15 constructors championship points and fined €400,000.
Racing Point, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams have all indicated an intention to appeal the stewards decision with Racing Point trying to clear their name and Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Renault appealing for a tougher sanction.
The delayed season started with the Austrian Grand Prix which was won from pole position by Valtteri Bottas. Charles Leclerc finished second with Lando Norris taking his maiden podium in third after Lewis Hamilton was penalised for a collision with Alexander Albon which dropped Hamilton from second to fourth at the finish.
Results and standings
Points are awarded to the top ten classified drivers and the driver who set the fastest lap. The driver with fastest lap has to be within the top 10 to receive the point. The points are awarded for every race using the following system:
World Drivers' Championship standings
- – Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as he completed more than 90% of the race distance.
World Constructors' Championship standings
- – Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as he completed more than 90% of the race distance.
- In the history of Formula One, Formula One regulations were first introduced during the 1946 Grand Prix season. These were adopted for every race in 1948, and were formally organised into a championship in 1950.
- Racing Point F1 Team uses Mercedes-AMG F1 M11 power units. For sponsorship purposes, these engines are rebadged as "BWT Mercedes".
- Sergio Pérez was entered into the 2020 British Grand Prix, but later withdrew after testing positive for the SARS-2 coronavirus.
- Under the FIA's International Sporting Code, a season must contest races across three continents to be considered a World Championship.
- The Hungarian Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 2 August, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, replacing the British Grand Prix race date.
- The British Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 19 July, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, replacing the Hungarian Grand Prix race date.
- The Spanish Grand Prix was originally due to take place on 10 May, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In April 2020, the Belgian government extended a ban on mass gatherings until September 2020 in a bid to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the race later received permission to be held without spectators on the original date.
- The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers announced their intention to reschedule the race. Federal tourism minister Simon Birmingham later stated his belief that Australia's borders would be closed to international travel until 2021.
- Racing Point was deducted 15 points after a protest from Renault was upheld regarding the legality of their car.
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