Daniil Kvyat during F1 testing in Bahrain in 2019. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/LARS BARON
Daniil Kvyat during F1 testing in Bahrain in 2019. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/LARS BARON

London — Formula One has fleshed out its 2020 calendar to 17 races, with the Chinese Grand Prix cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but Turkey back on for the first time since 2011 and Bahrain handed two rounds.

Formula One said in a statement that Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit would host a race on November 15 before a Bahrain double in late November and early December, with Abu Dhabi ending the season on December 13 at Yas Marina.

A limited number of fans, and hospitality, will be able to attend some of the races. Russian Grand Prix organisers are already selling tickets for their race in Sochi in September.

All six grands prix held so far since the delayed season started in Austria in July have been behind closed doors. Formula One had confirmed only 13 races until Tuesday, all of them in Europe after those in the Americas were cancelled, but teams and drivers now have a clear idea of how many the championship will have.

The original schedule, published before the pandemic, envisaged a record 22 races, but fixtures such as Monaco had to be cancelled and a new calendar drawn up with a mix of old favourites and new venues.

China’s race in Shanghai had looked doubtful for some time due to the coronavirus. The first Vietnamese grand prix, postponed from April, will not be happening either, though its cancellation has yet to be confirmed officially.

“Sadly, we will not be racing in China this season,” Formula One said, adding that it looked forward to returning in 2021. Turkey will be the only race on the 2020 calendar that could be considered a non-European or Middle Eastern round, since the circuit is on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Japan, Singapore, Azerbaijan and Australia have already been cancelled.

Istanbul’s circuit used to be popular with drivers if not the locals whose attendance was scarce. The only current drivers to have won there are Kimi Raikkonen, six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.

“It’s an old-school circuit, something I was watching on TV when I was younger. [That] massive left-hander, flat-out, is going to be pretty impressive,” Renault’s Esteban Ocon told reporters recently.

Bahrain’s two races, on November 29 and December 6, will be designated the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Sakhir Grand Prix, after the name of the desert circuit.

Sakhir will be the third circuit to host two races this season after Austria’s Red Bull Ring and Britain’s Silverstone. 


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