Just three races into the 2020 season and Formula One is shaping up to be a reasonably entertaining affair, to say the least. With Mercedes dominating the front and Ferrari relegated to the midfield, the unpredictable European weather at this time of year lends to some thrilling wheel-to-wheel action. Recently, the excitement level for 2020 turned up a notch with the announcement of three new races for this year, namely Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola.
Formula One makes a return to the Nurburgring circuit ever since the German Grand Prix moved to the Hockenheimring in 2013. Although this is the full 20.8km Green Hell, the 5.15km GP-Strecke circuit does provide outstanding edge-of-seat racing. Refer to the Schumacher-Alonso duel of the 2006 Season to get an idea. Mark Webber also had his maiden Formula 1 win there. With the early October weather predicted to be wet, the 2020 German GP is setting up to be a very tantalising race indeed.
The Algarve International Circuit in Portimao will host its inaugural Formula One Grand Prix on from 23 to 25 October. Previously, the Portuguese Grand Prix was held at Estoril with the last race held in 1996. The Portimao circuit will be the fourth circuit in the picturesque southern European country to host Formula One. It will be the first race to host fans in 2020.
Although Ferrari’s performance this season isn’t up to par, Ferrari will have the chance to save face on three Italian circuits this year. Aside from Monza and then Mugello, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola will host the third race in Italy. The circuit gained notoriety for the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna over one weekend in 1994. After making changes to the course to slow the cars down, Imola continued to provide fantastic and controversial racing moments, such as the Schumacher-Montoya incident in 2004.
This announcement brings the total number of races for the 2020 calendar to 13 races, with the season expected to host 15 to 18 races, ending in the Gulf region in mid-December. However, Formula One will not be visiting the American continent, with Brazil, USA, Canada and Mexico being cancelled due to the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region.
The introduction of these three new races further adds another element of complexity to the sport. As these tracks are new to the teams and have little to no data on how the new generation Formula One racecars will perform. The same goes for the drivers except for Hamilton who tested at Portimao and Raikkonen who raced at Imola. Mix the unknown variables with unpredictable weather, these tracks maybe this season’s highlights.