It’s time to get creative with the 2020 calendar

Jamie Woodhouse

One DRS zone for Emilia Romagna GP.

There is plenty of uncertainty over what happens after the first eight races in 2020, but that’s where Formula 1 needs to get creative.

Right now the most important thing is that we have a date – July 3 is the day when the cars will roll out onto the Red Bull Ring to mark the start of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend and the 2020 season.

It has been a long wait, the season of course was meant to start back in March and that debacle in Australia now feels like a lifetime ago, but at last we can look forward to the “new normal” F1 gracing our screens again.

After that opening round we will go racing again in Austria on the following weekend, before moving on to the Hungarian Grand Prix a week later.

There will then be a two-week break before back-to back-weekends at Silverstone, and from there F1 heads for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Another weekend off is then followed by the Belgian and Italian GPs back-to-back.

But after those eight rounds have been ticked off the options available from the original 2020 schedule are thinning fast.

Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have all cancelled their races for 2020, joining Australia, France, Monaco and the Netherlands, and further races like the Mexican, United States and Brazilian GPs are all in major doubt.

It’s no surprise then that Formula 1 are looking for other options – Russia and China have come forward from the established venues with offers to host multiple races in 2020, as have Bahrain who even teased a second race on an almost oval-shaped track.

But it’s the wildcard names which have sprung up that are generating excitement among fans, and Formula 1 must take advantage.

Imola, Mugello, Portimao Circuit, Indianapolis and the Hockenheimring are all places which have been mentioned as guest additions to the calendar should Formula 1 be short of options.

But it shouldn’t take a last-resort scenario for the series’ chiefs to welcome them in.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a permanent scar on the world, but F1 has a chance to turn 2020 from a patched-up season to a fantasy one.

This opportunity to just chop and change the calendar will likely never come again, so why not have a bit of fun and revisit some past gems, and race at a few completely new venues.

Not only would it excite the fans, but it will also be a challenge for the teams and drivers who would have no data prepared.

And perhaps there will be a few drivers who do know their way around one of these circuits while others are out of their comfort zone, perhaps paving the way for some unpredictable results.

Yes there are race fees to think about, but with races being held as “Closed Events” with no fans anyway, Liberty Media are having to sort out compensation and new deals to convince promoters to keep their events on the 2020 calendar.

Another issue the sport’s owners brought up was that some of these tracks may turn around and almost blackmail the sport into giving them a spot on the 2021 calendar.

But that really does feel like a cheap excuse, and the original contracts will be back in place by then anyway.

So, Formula 1 has a series of big decisions to make with its 2020 calendar, but we sincerely hope they seize this one-off opportunity, get creative, and create a truly unique buzz for the season.

What circuits would you like to see make a guest appearance this season? Let us know in the comments section.

Jamie Woodhouse

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