F1 announces first eight races of revised 2020 calendar

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, June 2: Austria's Red Bull Ring and Britain's Silverstone circuit will each host two Grands Prix without spectators after an initial eight race 2020 FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship calendar was published on Tuesday (June 2).

The FIA F1 World Championship season was unable to start as per schedule at Australia in March as planned due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Austria's races start the season on July 5 and 12 and will be called the Austrian Grand Prix and the Grand Prix of Steiermark (Styria), the region in which the circuit at Spielberg is located.

Silverstone will host the British Grand Prix on August 2 and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on August 9.

The Hungarian Grand Prix will be on July 19 with races in Spain, Belgium and Italy on August 16 and 30 and September 6 respectively.

The F1 announced that all the races will be supported by Formula 2 and Formula 3.

The official Formula One website (F1.com) reported that there would not be any changes to the formats of either championship, with both set to follow their usual pattern of two races per weekend, with the second of each featuring a reversed grid based on the finishing order of the first.

F1 Chairman and CEO Chase Carey said that due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, the sport's governing body would be finalising the details of the wider calendar in the coming weeks with an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before completing the season in December.

"We're pleased to be able to set out our opening eight race calendar and look forward to publishing our full calendar in the coming weeks," Carey told F1.com.

Though F1 is planning to start the opening races as closed-door affairs, Carey hoped fans will be able to attend again when it is safe to do so.

"While we currently expect the season to commence without fans at our races, we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back once it's safe to do, but we know the return of Formula 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world," said Carey.

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