When the 2020 Formula 1 calendar was originally revealed last year, excitement centred on the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort after a 37-year break and the brand-new Vietnamese GP. The World Championship will still be visiting some new circuits and returning to some old favourites this year – just not the ones anyone could have expected.
You know what happened, of course. The global impact of the coronavirus has affected everything, including motorsport, and since the Australian GP was axed at the last moment in mid-March, F1 bosses have been scrabbling to cobble together a calendar with enough events and geographic reach to ensure that it’s worthy of ‘world championship’ status. It has been a work in progress, too: when the season finally began in July with a pair of races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, nobody even knew how many grands prix there would ultimately be, let alone where they could be held.
We know now that 13 of the 22 originally planned races won’t take place this year, due to lockdowns or international travel restrictions, the continued spread of Covid-19 in particular regions or logistical and contractual reasons. The canned events include both the Dutch GP and Vietnamese GP and all of the planned races in the Americas and the Far East. Due to the complexity of road closures, the Monaco GP will be missing from the schedule for the first time since 1954.
But that calendar chaos has created opportunity, and F1 bosses have adapted by adding five new events, with three circuits making a welcome return to the calendar alongside two brand-new tracks, starting with the recent Tuscan GP at Mugello. So here’s what to expect from the last-minute additions to this year’s calendar.
Tuscan Ferrari 1000 Grand Prix, Mugello
Date: 13 September Circuit length: 3.259 miles; Opened: 1974; Previous F1 races: None
Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG)
Motor racing was first held in Mugello in 1914, on a daunting 41.3-mile road course that continued to host races until 1970. The permanent circuit was built in 1974 in a nearby valley, packing 15 turns and 41 metres of elevation change into each lap. Notable features include the 0.68-mile main straight, which leads into a fast, uphill right-hander.
Mugello hosted a number of major international championships in the 1970s and 1980s, including the World Sportscar Championship and Formula 2, but it fell into financial struggles in the mid-1980s. More recently, it has hosted the DTM spin-off International Touring Car Championship and the FIA GT Championship, but it’s best known for two-wheel motorsport, as a hugely popular mainstay on the MotoGP calendar.