This week, Formula 1 returns after a small, already unusual two-week break, along with the fully known 2020 calendar. The leadership of the championship managed to carry out a colossal work and create a set of stages, really worthy of the anniversary season.
And even though the intrigue in the fight for the championship title is already ready to order a long life, the very combination of the tracks chosen for the races will make every fan of the “big prizes” look forward to the next weekend to enjoy the sight of a new or long-forgotten, but even more anticipated track.
The final calendar in its form can be compared with the menu of an elite restaurant, which is trying with all its might to claim the next Michelin star, and in the case of Formula 1, the Pirellian star.
As an aperitif this year we were offered an Austro-Hungarian “appetizer”, and it turned out to be quite appetizing. The starting Austrian Grand Prix spun the intrigue to the point of impossibility, and the defeat of Lewis Hamilton, combined with getting into the top three of Charles Leclair and Lando Norris, gave hope that not everything is so obvious in the championship race. However, saturation came quickly enough – already in Styria, the Briton won back positions, and in Hungary he consolidated the result.
Not without some pleasant moments – Max Verstappen from Red Bull joined the fight for success, who, after a starting failure due to technical problems with the car, still demonstrated the pace that fans expected from him, becoming a regular on the podium.
HOT BRITISH-SPANISH SNACK
The next “dish” for fans of “Formula 1” was one more structured combination of stages. To begin with, the peloton went to the twin races in the British Silverstone, for which the “chefs” from Pirelli prepared different sets of tires, which predetermined the fate of the races.
It was the tires that became a key factor in both the British Grand Prix and the Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. In the first, increased wear led to the fact that on the last two laps the tires burst at once for three pilots, including the leaders from the Mercedes. And if Valtteri Bottas eventually drove into the pit stop, missing because of this the place on the podium, inherited by Charles Leclair, Lewis Hamilton achieved a historic achievement – he finished as the winner in a car with a broken wheel.
The jubilee Grand Prix gave the fans the third triumph of the season. The Red Bull tuned their car better, thanks to which Max Verstappen got the championship cup. True, he didn’t get it right away – on the podium, apparently, having got used to being constantly on the top step of the podium, Hamilton took the trophy for first place for some time. Max did not notice what had happened immediately, but after a couple of minutes, having caught up with the Briton, he still took the deserved prize for himself.
Well, the double stage in Great Britain was also remembered for the return of the most unlucky pilot of our time, Niko Hulkenberg. The German replaced Sergio Perez, who was sick with coronavirus, at Racing Point, but, according to tradition, he could not do anything with his own evil fate – in the first race, a technical malfunction prevented him from starting, and the “gone” tires in the second forced him to enter the pits. – why he lost his position.
The Spanish Grand Prix in this regard might seem superfluous – a hot race from the point of view of the weather on the well-known racetrack, as expected, did not please with anything interesting, at least for some time it beckoned with a ghostly rain, but a hot snack, as you know, without heat will become a simple aperitif , and the owners of Formula 1, in fact, had no other options.
WAITING FOR MAIN COURSES – TRADITIONAL “FIRST” WITH SURPRISE
And now, having tasted snacks and whetted an appetite, the fans of the “big racing circus” came to the most anticipated part of this season, which the “chefs” from Liberty Media approached with the utmost care.
For the “first” they prepared a traditional pair from the Grand Prix of Belgium and Italy. From year to year, these classic racing circuits in Spa and Monza give fans an unforgettable struggle, and last year became a triumph for Charles Leclair of Ferrari. It will be problematic to repeat such a success this time, given the shape of the team, but the organizers have taken this factor into account and, starting with the races in the Italian “temple of speed”, will prohibit the teams from using the so-called “qualification mode”.
In the past, it was he who allowed Mercedes racers to literally destroy opponents in qualifying, bringing them half a second or more. Now, perhaps, at least the start of the races will not be as predictable as before.
Well, a week after Monza we will have an addition in the form of a new track for Formula 1 in Mugello, which will host the Tuscany Grand Prix. Fans of motorcycle racing have long known this unusual track with one of the longest high-speed straight lines in the world, but for fans of “open wheels” of the highest level, this will become a kind of “compliment from the chef.”
Most of all, Ferrari fans are waiting for him – this is where Scuderia will have to celebrate its own anniversary, the 1000th race in the history of the World Championships. However, as you know, anniversaries in Formula 1 are rarely celebrated beautifully, so the tiffozi still has a little jitters.
THE UNEXPECTED “SECOND”
But before trying the “second main course”, the fans will have to cool their ardor slightly, to put it mildly, not the most favorite race among the fans in Sochi. True, this time the organizers decided to brighten up the “sourness” with the fact that the Russian Grand Prix will be the first in the season to be held with spectators, albeit with a limited number of them. It is expected that the promoters will be able to organize a 50% occupancy of the stands, which will delight not only the races of the Formula 1 cars, but also the extremely interesting Formula 2 races this year.
And then … yes, the main highlight of the entire “menu” is the three October stages at the circuit, the appearance of which in the calendar in any other situation would have been practically impossible. On October 11, the Eifel Grand Prix is scheduled at the legendary, albeit truncated due to modern realities, Nurburgring. The version of the “Northern loop” for “open wheels” in the past, due to insufficient funding, was not even considered by Formula 1, but the coronavirus situation and the desire of the championship owners to fit as many stages as possible in the rest of the year did their job – the pilots will return to Nürburg for the first time since 2013.
On October 25, riders will test themselves on the Algarve circuit in Portimão. The last time the Portuguese Grand Prix was held in the last century, and at the circuit, which had just undergone reconstruction, earlier “Formula 1” and did come only for tests. Well, then, a week later, fans will see perhaps the loudest comeback of the season – Imola and the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. The Italian track, by the way, is the third in this season, has long inscribed its name in black letters in the history of motorsport. It was here in 1994 that the legendary Brazilian three-time world champion Ayrton Senna died.
For a long time, the Autodrome named after Enzo and Dino Ferrari, and this is how the track in Imola is officially called, remained home to the San Marino Grand Prix, and in recent years, it fought unsuccessfully with Monza for the right to take the Italian grand prize, and now, finally passing everything the necessary procedures, I was finally able to re-register in the calendar after 14 years.
ORIENTAL “SWEETS” FOR DESSERT
Until this week, it seemed that the Nürburgring and Imola would remain the only “returned” stages of Formula 1, but then in Formula 1 they decided that if they please the fans, then to the end, and added to the calendar another favorite stage – Turkish Grand Prix.
The Turkish “Istanbul Park” last hosted the “big circus” in 2011, and later, due to a lack of funding, it was even sold, because of which part of the track was converted into a parking lot for the sale of cars, but the coronavirus made adjustments here too.
In the past, the Istanbul Circuit was so popular and unusual that it even received the unofficial nickname “The Best Circuit in the World”, so both fans and the pilots themselves reacted positively to its return to the championship on November 15.
Well, the usual stages in the Middle East will become an addition to this “dessert”. Within three weeks from November 29 to December 13, two races will be held in Bahrain and the already habitually closing season of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“Menu” of five parts and 17 “dishes” – before the start of this season, one could only dream of a similar situation in Formula 1, which canceled stages one after another. Now I want even more, however, dreams of a new champion this year, apparently, will remain unrealizable.