Right then, take two. A whole 114 days after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled just hours before practice was set to start, due to several team members testing positive for Covid-19, the 2020 F1 season will finally begin in Austria this weekend.
The season in which the Formula 1 World Championship celebrates its 70th anniversary is shaping up to be one of the most unusual in history. Such is sport – well, life, really – in the clichéd new normal.
There are always a host of unknowns going into a season, but they usually surround how various teams and drivers will perform. On this occasion, it wasn’t exactly clear as the teams arrived at the Red Bull Ring for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix which circuits they will be racing on and when, or exactly how many races there will be.
Meanwhile, the financial impact of the crisis will be reflected in the introduction of a new cost cap and restrictions on technical developments, with the ripple effects reshaping both the medium and long-term future of the sport.
While the off-track issues have been to the fore, there is still plenty of intrigue in what could happen on the circuit, headlined by British star Lewis Hamilton’s quest for a record-equalling seventh championship.
Here are the key issues to consider ahead of the 2020 season.
The calendar: eight races confirmed - so far
At the time of writing, F1 bosses have confirmed an eight-race schedule using six European circuits. It comprises double-headers in Austria in July and at Silverstone in August, plus races in Spain, Hungary, Belgium and Italy. Fans will not initially be permitted at events, although F1 bosses are hoping they might be allowed to return later this season.
The back-to-back races in Austria and Silverstone will each be held one week apart. The second Austrian event will be labelled the Styrian Grand Prix (after the region of Austria the Red Bull Ring is in), while the second race at Silverstone will be the Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix - a nod to the Northamptonshire track hosting the first championship race back in 1950.
While those events are set – and effectively constitute the minimum needed for the 2020 season to be classed as a valid championship - plans for what happens after Italy on 6 September are far more fluid, with organisers aiming to release a full schedule shortly.
F1 bosses have insisted they are working towards a 15- to 18-race calendar, but reaching that target depends on the impact of Covid-19 in various countries and regions, and contractual and logistical considerations for the various circuits.
Several events have already been cancelled: Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have all dropped off the calendar for various logistical reasons. The Monaco GP, which had been due to run earlier this year, won’t be rescheduled, marking the first time since 1954 that it won’t be a part of the championship. Races in Brazil and Texas in the US are in question, given the coronavirus situation in those countries.