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 of 22 Grands Prix, but as some races have been cancelled and new races were added to replace them, a total of 17 races were confirmed to be run. The season started in July with the Austrian Grand Prix and will end in December with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the first eight rounds of the championship were run behind closed doors with the rest of the races due to be run at reduced capacity.
|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||||4
| Lando Norris
Carlos Sainz Jr.
|Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||F1 W11||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
| Nicholas Latifi
Across the season, three drivers drove as a test or third driver in free practice sessions. Jack Aitken and Roy Nissany both drove for Williams at one and two Grands Prix respectively, 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. Pérez had a negative SARS-2 coronavirus test result the week preceding the Spanish Grand Prix weekend and he competed in the Grand Prix having been cleared by the FIA to return.
Twenty-two Grands Prix were originally scheduled for the 2020 World Championship. However, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in numerous race cancellations. Currently, a rescheduled calendar of seventeen races has been confirmed; twelve races have been cancelled, and one has been postponed. The length of each race is the minimum number of laps that exceeds a total distance of 305 km (189.5 mi). Under 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|
|8||Italian Grand Prix||Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza||6 September|
|9||Tuscan Grand Prix||Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello,||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|
|14||Turkish Grand Prix||Intercity ?stanbul Park, Tuzla[h]||15 November|
|15||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir[i]||[j]|
|16||Sakhir Grand Prix||6 December|
|17||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi||[k]|
The following rounds were included on the original calendar published by the World Motor Sport Council, but were cancelled or postponed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
|Grand Prix||Circuit||Original date||Status|
|Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne||15 March||Cancelled[l]|
|Vietnamese Grand Prix||Hanoi Street Circuit, Hanoi||5 April||Postponed[m]|
|Chinese Grand Prix||Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai||19 April||Cancelled|
|Dutch Grand Prix||Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort||3 May||Cancelled|
|Monaco Grand Prix||Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo||24 May||Cancelled|
|Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit, Baku||7 June||Cancelled|
|Canadian Grand Prix||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal||14 June||Cancelled|
|French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet||28 June||Cancelled|
|Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore||20 September||Cancelled|
|Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka||11 October||Cancelled|
|United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas||25 October||Cancelled|
|Mexico City Grand Prix||1 November||Cancelled|
|Brazilian Grand Prix||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo||15 November||Cancelled|
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:
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 across a three-season period 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.
From the Italian Grand Prix, drivers were only run one engine mode from the start of qualifying to the end of the race. However, on the last lap, the drivers can give the engine more electrical power to give the cars more pace.
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.
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. In August the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix was announced.
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 would 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.
In August, it was announced that Formula One would return to the Turkish Grand Prix at the Intercity ?stanbul Park for the first time since the 2011 season, together with the debut of the Sakhir Grand Prix, to be held at the Bahrain International Circuit, using the configuration of the track called "Outer Circuit". They join the rescheduled Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix as the final four races of the season, bringing the calendar to seventeen races.
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 racism, global inequity and the impact of COVID-19. The initiative used a rainbow logo, with the colours of all ten Formula One teams), also 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.
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 would be 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 penalised by 15 Constructors' Championship points and fined EUR400,000.
Racing Point, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams had 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. Ferrari, Renault and Racing Point confirmed their appeal, while Williams and McLaren pulled out of the appeal. Later, Renault announced their decision to withdraw the appeal against the penalty handed out to Racing Point. The same decision was made by Racing Point and Ferrari before and after the Italian Grand Prix respectively.
The delayed season started with the Austrian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas, driving for Mercedes, took pole position, ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen; however, Hamilton was given a three-place grid penalty, since he did not slow sufficiently when yellow flags were waved following a small mistake by Bottas. This promoted Verstappen to second, McLaren driver Lando Norris to third, and Alexander Albon to fourth. In an eventful race, featuring three safety car periods and the retirements of nine drivers, Bottas won, ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Norris. Hamilton crossed the line in second place, but received a five-second time penalty after a collision with Albon, who soon retired; after the penalty was applied, Hamilton finished fourth, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr., Sergio Pérez and Pierre Gasly.
The Hungarian Grand Prix started with a slippery track. Verstappen slid into the barrier on his way to the grid and broke his steering axis, but his mechanics managed to repair the car before the race start. The race winner was Hamilton, with Verstappen in second and Bottas in third place.
Hamilton won the British Grand Prix despite his left-front tyre delaminating in the middle of the last lap. Verstappen finished second with Leclerc in third. Bottas had a puncture which resulted in him finishing in eleventh. Daniil Kvyat had a puncture at high speed entering Maggotts corner which resulted in a big crash with a safety car, and Carlos Sainz Jr. finished 13th after a puncture made him fall from what would have been 4th place.
The Belgian Grand Prix was won by Lewis Hamilton, who led every lap and won by 8 seconds over teammate Valtteri Bottas who finished second ahead of Max Verstappen. Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth, setting the fastest lap on the last lap. On lap 11, Antonio Giovinazzi crashed at Campus corner; one of the wheels of his car came loose and hit the front right suspension of George Russell's car, causing both drivers to retire from the race. This brought out the safety car for three laps. Renault achieved a finish of P4 and P5, equalling their best result since their return to the sport in 2016.
The Italian Grand Prix was won by Pierre Gasly after a red flag caused by Charles Leclerc. This was his and AlphaTauri's first race victory. The race marked the first time since Kimi Räikkönen won the 2013 Australian Grand Prix driving for Lotus F1 that the race winner did not drive for Ferrari, Mercedes, or Red Bull and the first time since 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix these all of these three constructors failed to score a podium finish. The race marked the second career podium finishes for Carlos Sainz Jr., who finished second, and Lance Stroll, who finished third.
The inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix, Ferrari's 1000th Grand Prix start, resulted in Hamilton's sixth race win of the season, and Mercedes' third 1-2 finish. Bottas overtook Hamilton into turn one before a major collision at turn two caused the retirement of both Verstappen (who had fallen from 3rd to 14th due to a power issue) and Gasly. This brought out the safety car for 8 laps to allow for the debris to be cleared. At the end of the safety car period, a major misunderstanding in the upper midfield led to a large collision down the pit straight, causing the retirement of Nicholas Latifi, Kevin Magnussen, Giovinazzi and Sainz Jr., and a red flag period. At the first restart, Hamilton overtook Bottas and led the race from there onwards. On lap 42, Ricciardo looked poised for his first podium since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix when Stroll's Racing Point spun off the track due to a puncture, causing the second red flag of the race. This was the first time since the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix that there were two red flag periods in one race. At the second restart, Hamilton maintained his lead to win the race. Red Bull's Alexander Albon overtook Ricciardo in the closing laps, earning his first ever podium and the first podium for a Thai driver in Formula One.
|Round||Grand Prix||Pole position||Fastest lap||Winning driver||Winning constructor||Report|
|1||Austrian Grand Prix||Valtteri Bottas||Lando Norris||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Report|
|2||Styrian Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|3||Hungarian Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|4||British Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|5||70th Anniversary Grand Prix||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||Report|
|6||Spanish Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|7||Belgian Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Daniel Ricciardo||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|8||Italian Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri-Honda||Report|
|9||Tuscan Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Report|
|10||Russian Grand Prix||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Report|
|11||Eifel Grand Prix||Report|
|12||Portuguese Grand Prix||Report|
|13||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Report|
|14||Turkish Grand Prix||Report|
|15||Bahrain Grand Prix||Report|
|16||Sakhir Grand Prix||Report|
|17||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Report|
Points are awarded to the top ten classified drivers and the driver who set the fastest lap. The driver with the fastest lap has to be within the top 10 to receive the point. The points are awarded for every race using the following system: