F1 2020: four new races added to calendar

Four more grands prix have been added to the disrupted 2020 Formula 1 calendar, taking the season total to 17 races.

The sport will return to Istanbul Park in Turkey – a challenging, fast circuit popular with fans and drivers – for the first time since 2011, when it dropped off the calendar after seven years due to financial reasons.

Two races will then be held at Sakhir in Bahrain, both running on the usual International Circuit despite rumours that the high-speed Outer Circuit could be used.

The season will then finish at the Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi, as is now traditional, but on the much later date of 13 December.

This is the latest and almost certainly final batch of races to be added to the calendar, after the Nürburgring, Imola and Portimão were added last month.

F1 has confirmed that it won’t be able to visit the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix, despite attempts to organise this in recent months. It was also rumoured in recent weeks that Jerez in Spain could be added to the calendar, but it appears that this won’t be the case.

The 2020 F1 season now looks to be finalised with 17 races, down from the 22 planned before the pandemic, but enough to fulfil F1’s contractual obligations for the championship to be valid.

Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be the only circuits used outside of Europe – all in Asia – with no visits to the Americas possible, due to the severity of the coronavirus situation there.

F1 has also confirmed that, despite its strict self-imposed Covid-19 measures, specators will be allowed at some races later in the year. It said: “While we want to see as many fans as possible return as soon as it is safe to do so, our priority remains the safety of the F1 community and the communities we visit, and we review fan access on this basis.”