Final, 17-race 2020 F1 calendar taking shape including Istanbul and two Bahrain races

2020 F1 calendar

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Formula 1 is expected to confirm a 17-race calendar for the 2020 season, including a return to Turkey’s Istanbul Park for the first time in nine years.

The purpose-built circuit previously held the Turkish Grand Prix between 2005 and 2011. Its return to the calendar has come about as F1 has been forced to abandon planned races in the Americas and Asia this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

RaceFans understands from sources the Turkish Grand Prix will take place on November 15th, two weeks after the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. The event has also been announced by local media. F1 can expect cooler conditions in Istanbul compared to its last visit in May, as the region sees average temperatures of 9-15C in November.

An event in Turkey will offer more straightforward freight routes for F1 than other potential venues which were under consideration, such as the Jerez circuit in southern Spain. Following Imola and Istanbul, the championship will conclude with a triple-header of races including two events in Bahrain and one at Yas Marina.

Bahrain’s two races could be held on different configurations of the desert track. While the familiar 5.4-kilometre grand prix circuit will hold the first race, F1 is believed to be seriously considering running the second on the simpler, 3.5-kilometre ‘Outer Circuit’.

Abu Dhabi will hold its season finale two weeks later than originally planned, allowing F1 to salvage 17 races from a schedule which was originally supposed to include a record-breaking 22.

This arrangement of races would confirm Vietnam’s inaugural grand prix at Hanoi, which was postponed from its original April date earlier this year, will not take place in 2020.

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Expected final 2020 F1 calendar

RoundCountryTrackDate
1AustriaRed Bull Ring05/07/2020
2AustriaRed Bull Ring12/07/2020
3HungaryHungaroring19/07/2020
4Great BritainSilverstone02/08/2020
5Great BritainSilverstone09/08/2020
6SpainCircuit de Catalunya16/08/2020
7BelgiumSpa-Francorchamps30/08/2020
8ItalyMonza06/09/2020
9ItalyMugello13/09/2020
10RussiaSochi Autodrom27/09/2020
11GermanyNurburgring11/10/2020
12PortugalAlgarve25/10/2020
13ItalyImola01/11/2020
14TurkeyIstanbul Park15/11/2020
15BahrainBahrain International Circuit – Grand Prix29/11/2020
16BahrainBahrain International Circuit – Outer6/12/2020
17Abu DhabiYas Marina13/12/2020

Bahrian circuit configurations

Bahrain International Circuit, 2019
Bahrain International Circuit – Grand Prix
Bahrain Outer Circuit
Bahrain International Circuit – Outer

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2020 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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99 comments on “Final, 17-race 2020 F1 calendar taking shape including Istanbul and two Bahrain races”

  1. Could we expect a sub one minute lap time if they do the outer circuit in Bahrain?

    Although looking forward to the return of Istanbul Park. Probably the best modern day circuit that’s been built in the last 20 years

    1. I did some math earlier on the Outer Circuit. Assuming they can match the speed of Monza, which I find unlikely, they would lap it in 55 seconds. I could see some dropping below 1 minute in qualifying, maybe 58-59s, but not in the race.

      1. Oh, and it would likely be an 83-lap race so it would be very quick.

        1. @chrischrill 87 would be the number of laps, at least according to what was reported on this site before.

          1. That’s in excess of the required 305km race distance. The Outer loop is 3.664km. 83 laps of that would be 304km, so 84 laps then to complete the requirement.

          2. @chrischrill But according to what Keith posted before, 87 is the minimum number of laps needed to reach the 305 km minimum, but maybe he counted incorrectly.

          3. @chrischrill @jerejj The circuit is 3.543 km. Source. 87 laps.

      2. 2019 combined best sectors 1&3 (Leclerc) was 49.798. Entry to Turn 13 on the outer circuit is a lot more flat out. So I guess they might just make it in 59.xx seconds in quali. Depends on how much the engine modes ban affects performance.

        1. And the downforce level will be less in tgis configuration…

    2. Yes, sub-1-minute laps are to be expected (just search for onboards on YouTube of various simulations and games; though not fully accurate, close enough).

    3. @f199player Agree on Istanbul. Great news.

    4. By this simulation, the lap times could be 55s. https://youtu.be/TbXz79BtfwI

  2. I like Istanbul Park. I’m intrigued by the Outer Ring at Bahrain. Bring it on!

    1. Intrigued like in “I am so intrigued that I am going to fall asleep”?

      1. Intrigued as in “We’ve never had a race with sub-60s laps, what will happen with traffic and pit stops?”. It’s something new.

    2. If we have a really bad race his time fans might actually realise Istanbul is not a great track.

      1. @peartree yeah I’ve never understood the hype for it. Like, it’s not the worst circuit by any means, but it’s still a Tilkedrome (albeit one of the better ones). Turn 8, good but massively overrated – and I have a feeling in these current cars it will be less challenging than it was

  3. If the 17 races can be achieved (this is not a given unfortunately), it will knock into touch any feelings of a ‘de-valued’ chanpionship as you would be able to confidently state that the best team won over that many rounds as elements such as luck and unreliability will have had less of an impact. If it was the minimum 8 rounds then there would always be a lingering feeling that this was only half a championship and external factors would have had too disproportionate an impact.

    Whilst I dont have any particular love of Liberty (or governing bodies in general), i think that they deserve a pat on the back in making this happen and putting on something that can be legitimately be called an F1 championship under tough circumstances.

    1. as you would be able to confidently state that the best team won over that many rounds

      Is it really that important how many races merc and ham win before taking the title?

      1. @mrboerns The way this season is transpiring your point is admittedly coming to pass.

        What i was aiming for was that if the season was 8-12 races then it would give the detractors of the eventual championship winner (mostly likely Lewis if we are honest) ammunition to say that it was an “easy” championship and therefore doesn’t carry the same merit. In Lewis’ case some people would stupidly start saying he would only have 6.5 championships if he won this year if the season was too short, having a 17 race season gives the detractors nowhere to go on this point. For that reason I am thankful.

        I have seen the “debates” on these forums over Lewis’ achievements and by having the door even slightly ajar on the supposed validity of the championship will just bring out the worst in some people.

        1. Well, my point is that this seems to be an “easy” championship for Hamilton, and if it was 50 Races.
          Actually, make that two easy championships. If nothing really weird happens at least.

        2. Was Farina’s 1950 Championship devalued because there were only seven races?

          Even if there were only eight races this season, I don’t see how it would be “devalued”. However, I accept that fewer races opens up a greater possibility of a surprise result. That said, we’re already up to 13 races and it looks like we’ll end up with 17 (a perfectly acceptable total in the circumstances).

          1. @scbriml I won’t say that Farina’s championship has a lower value attached to it as 7 races was a fair reference of the time.

            Also I personally wouldn’t devalue a championship based on number of races. I was just happy that we are more likely to avoid mudslinging over whether the championship is devalued due to the length of the 2020 one. People seem to find ever more tenuous ways to belittle their favourite driver’s competitors and anything that can reduce the opportunities for this is welcome in my eyes.

    2. not a real season because th fia extended the rules and froze cardevelopmnt, that is my take.

  4. Wow… Spa, Monza, Mugello, Nurburgring, Algarve, Imola, Istanbul and then the craziness of Bahrain outer.

    Find an excuse to ban Max and the Mercedes (anything, just do it) and it would be one hell of a season from here on in.

    And for Abu Dhabi everyone has to swap cars randomly :P

    1. @aussierod In the words of IntoTheBarrier, Mercedes should be disqualified this season for copying the 2021 Aston Martin Racing Point car. I mean, they have the same brake ducts and everything.

  5. Not a fan of the Outer Lap at all. Have done it in a few racing games, boring as hell. F1 never learns, variation is definitely not always preferable.

    1. @hahostolze Why not give it a try though? Games and real life are often miles apart. I much prefer Outer layout rather than 2 races with the exact same layout.

    2. It’s hardly a permanent fixture! They are doing what they can in quite difficult circumstances you know.

      That fact we have so many races on circuits not used for years is a triumph if you ask me (not adding crowds is the easiest of the obsticles).

      It’s not been confirmed either, so let’s just put the criticism hat down until we know and had the race.

    3. Just because it’s boring to drive (in a game…) does not mean it will be a boring race. I have high hopes that there will be a lot of slipstreaming action – my concern is that they will add multiple DRS zones (it really needs none at all) which will have the effect of ordering the field pretty quickly, and then it will be extremely boring.

      1. The real question is : how many times will the mercs and Max lap the field?

    4. In all honesty, the most enjoyable tracks don’t necessarily produce the most interesting motor races. I can’t recall the last genuinely good dry race at Spa. Baku on the other hand (just as an example…).

      Less corners = closer racing.

  6. Great calendar. Make it 3 in Bahrain I feel. 1 normal, 1 reverse, 1 outer. And chuck Abu Dhabi. Bahrain is anyways a much better track.
    Lesser travel and costs associated as well.

    Honestly, I love this calendar. Great tracks (new and old).

    1. @Sumedh Reverse isn’t possible on any circuit due to the insufficiency of the runoff area in places when approaching from the opposite direction.

      1. But Bahrain is a desert, there must be plenty of run off.. (I thought). The reverse approach to turn 1 (from turn 4) is probably a fast run into the grand stand which is risky, but there is turn 2 and turn 3 in the middle to slow it down.

        1. Doesn’t work like that. The run off areas, barriers, barrier entry points (for cars to be pushed into when they crash or retire), marshal points etc are all designed for the circuit to be run in the intended direction. They would have to be completely redesigned to run in reverse.

          Watch this video to see why running a circuit designed to be run in one direction is impossible to run in the other direction without major changes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSjLoGljZ3s

  7. OMG, please don’t do “outer circuit”!
    We don’t need stupid straights connected by 4 corners.

    1. Everything else is fine – nice calendar we have.

      1. @dallein I don’t think anyone is taking advice on what circuits to choose from somebody who gave the Spanish GP 9 out of 10 😂

    2. Yeah because that indy 500 is no fun at all

      1. Correct. Glad we agree.

    3. Not sure I understand the negativity toward this layout.

      I have a bit of a theory that the more corners (and circuit length, for that matter), the more spread out the field becomes, which generally leads to worse racing.

      Corners are what separate the cars and the drivers. For once, it’ll actually encourage some of the teams to run borderline zero downforce, which could be very fun.

      I quietly confident that this layout will provide a decent race, although it’s a real shame it’ll take place during a season of Merc dominance.

  8. Can’t wait to see these beasts tackle turn 8! And I guess there’s no crowds anyway, there’s no reason not to go back! :D

  9. The ‘Endurance Circuit’ at Bahrain would make more sense, surely. It was used by F1 in 2020. The outer circuit will most likely end up with all bot the top 3 being lapped.

    1. That already happened in Spain

    2. Endurance circuit was a pain in you know where. That additional section was amazingly twisty and unnecessary. I’m satisfied it was only tried once.

  10. A race at Istanbul Park! I can’t stop smiling now!

  11. Wow .. 17 races within 6 months! I especially am curious in these 4 tracks: Imola, Mugello, Portimao Portugal and Istanbul Park .. all 4 circuits have great layout .. bring it on :)

  12. Not necessarily cooler conditions as Istanbul is surprisingly warm still in November, or at least last year it was as can be seen here:
    https://www.accuweather.com/en/tr/istanbul/318251/november-weather/318251?year=2019
    I also thought/remembered it’d be mostly around 15 C only to find out when double-checking that it’s actually 20s for the most part.
    A bit better scheduling would be to have Bahrain on November 22, and Abu Dhabi on its originally scheduled day so that the season would end with a Turkey-Bahrain-Abu Dhabi triple, thus, minimizing travelling, but oh well, at least there isn’t going to be a standalone Jerez by the looks of it.
    As for Bahrain’s potential two separate events a la Red Bull Ring and Silverstone: I hope the race (formation lap) start time would be 17:10 rather than 18:10 because of the sunset times being 16:45 (16:46 for December 6) around the end-of-November/beginning-of-December so that it’d be closer to what it’s been in March and April with regards to how many minutes after the sunset the FP2, QLF, and the race commence, although for the second(?) race, I hope it’d be an hour earlier at 16:10 so that it’d be like in Abu Dhabi, with FP2 and QLF still commencing at 17:00, but at the very least 17:00-17:00-17:10 pattern for both weekends’ equivalent sessions.

    1. but oh well, at least there isn’t going to be a standalone Jerez by the looks of it.

      That’s actually a pity, @jerejj.
      Portomao – Jerez – Imola would have been nice.

      1. @coldfly The point is better not to have it at all than have it as a ‘standalone’ event in the middle of November taking place separately from Portimao.

  13. “Bleep bleep! What the bleep are we doing here? We are working to win the championship for bleeps sake! What a stupid action, I’m going home!”

  14. Istanbul Park – yes! ;)

  15. In spite of a nasty virus trying to wreck things, track wise this is one of the best seasons for many a decade. The ghastly Sochi aside (and probably Yas Marina), there is a superb selection of tracks. Proper race tracks. 5 of the 11 upcoming races (Mugello, Nurburgring, Portimao, Imola and Instanbul) are at tracks that most of the drivers have not seen adding quite a challenge also to the teams, who have virtually no track data to set the cars up.
    The number of races may have been reduced but the challenge of this season, with all its unknown tracks, is greater than usual and the winners will thoroughly deserve it. In no way will it be debased just because it is a few races shorter. Still a pity that Sochi is there though…

    1. Agreed. I’m sure many of us would have leaped at this calender had it been offered to us last year.

  16. I hope the Istanbul enthusiasts realize that it’s another great track for Mercedes to obliterate their opposition.

    1. Well, everyone should have started copying their car aswell!

      In all seriousness, If they run away, so be it. Bring on so good mid action

  17. this calendar is the best thing in recent F1 history.

    Hopefully there will be a lot of unknowns for the teams and it will affect their setups on these ‘new’ tracks that were never raced in the current hybrid era: Mugello, Nurburgring, Algarve, Istanbul, Bahrain Outer… oh, my, I can’t wait.

  18. By the way, it may have been discussed here before but what if there’s snowing in one of the late European races (either Nurburgring or Imola)? Does the F1 have mechanisms to cope with that in terms of tires, visibility, PU temperatures etc.?

    1. Well the tyres are not working when it’s hot, let’s hope they work when it’s cold…

    2. If it snows they won’t race, quite simple really

      1. It doesn’t have to be heavy snowing, just some showers during the race. Just curious.

    3. No problem – that what they have the front wings for. Clear a track in a couple of laps…

    4. @pironitheprovocateur Nurburgring, Imola and Istanbul are all risky venues this late into the season. I doubt there will be snowing (at least heavy snowing to force the race to be cancelled), but temperature-wise it might get quite chilly. The usual forcasted temps are around ~10-17C but the autumn is an unpredictable season.

      I live in Northeast Greece (less than 300km from Istanbul Park actually) and a few years ago in late October (not even November 15 when the race is scheduled to be held) the temperature dropped from ~15C one day, to -4C the next one and stayed there for 2-3 days. These freak drops in temperature and some mild snowing are not uncommon in this area. I’m curious to see how these autumn races play out in terms of tyres struggles.

    5. @pironitheprovocateur
      @black
      There isn’t going to be snow on the ground, no need to worry about that. Nurburgring’s most likely going to be from around 10 C to around 15 C, and with good luck, it could be on the verge of 20 on a random day, although that’s rather unlikely.
      Imola can still be warm around the end-of-October/beginning-of-November. Around 20 /low-20s at best, and around 15 at worst, so not massively bad.
      Istanbul is surprisingly warm still in November as I posted above and I’ll copy-paste the link to last year’s November’s temps to illustrate that: https://www.accuweather.com/en/tr/istanbul/318251/november-weather/318251?year=2019
      I’d only really be worried about Nurburgring, but not for the other two.
      @paeschli The tyres are difficult to get into temperature in cold as well, not only very hot conditions.

      1. @jerejj You posted for Istanbul only the Nov 2019 data (a warm year by the looks of it). The temps around the date of the race (Nov 15 ±2 days) were all ~20C.
        But if you look other years the same dates, it gets colder sometimes.
        https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/turkey/istanbul/historic?month=11&year=2018
        Nov 2018: ~8-14C with rain
        Nov 2017: ~14-19C sunny
        Nov 2016: ~6-11C overcast
        Nov 2015: ~14-19C sunny
        So low to mid 10s usually. And we’re probably talking about the inner city. The race track is off the city at a hill i think and it probably gets 2-3C colder there.

        1. @black Yes, fluctuations are, of course, always possible, I give you that. The reason I only posted data for last year’s November is that Accuweather (the site I use the most for weather-checking purpose) doesn’t give a chance to look at temps for further into the past than January 2019. Nevertheless, I’m less worried about Istanbul than Nurburgring in comparison because it seems more consistent out of the two in this regard. Imola, I’m also less worried compared to Nurburgring as it’s in the Mediterranean climate zone.
          BTW, I also use timeanddate.com, but for checking sunset times for different places, sun and moon times, day and night map, and times in general rather than for weather.

  19. Istanbul Park!! Brilliant track!!!

  20. Well, we got Silverstone, Monza and Spa. So I guess this season almost counts
    (Montreal, Monaco and Suzuka, If you liked to know)

  21. This calendar just gets better. I’ll miss COTA, Interlagos, Baku, even boring old Monaco, and I was looking forward to seeing the Vietnam circuit… but the chance to see F1 on some different venues like Portimao and Mugello, redesigned Imola, outer Bahrain and now my favourite Tilke circuit (Istanbul) more than makes up for it.

    1. @neilosjames I agree although I don’t really miss Interlagos. The original 2020 track I miss the most for this year is Suzuka. Notwithstanding these, the chance of tracks on which F1 has only ever been testing before (Mugello, Portimao), or raced but not for a long time (Nurburgring, Imola, and potentially also Istanbul Park) brings in some variation.

    2. I was looking forward to seeing the Vietnam circuit

      More so than Zandvoort? @neilosjames

      1. @coldfly At least I was looking forward to the Hanoi street circuit more than Zandvoort simply because of being a brand new venue, and therefore, 100% fresh and unfamiliar. Zandvoort is, after all, a returning track, and I’ve driven it before on Assetto Corsa, so more familiar.

        1. Zandvoort is, after all, a returning track, and I’ve driven it before on Assetto Corsa, so more familiar.

          I’m maybe to young to remember Zandvoort F1 and too old to (virtually) race Zandvoort F1.
          Or maybe too old to remember anything ;)
          @jerejj

      2. @Coldfly I wasn’t overly enthused about Zandvoort – looks fun for qualifying but wasn’t expecting much on race day (I keep telling myself to keep an open mind about it, but it doesn’t work). Whereas Vietnam had the newness factor, and it’s weird enough for me to expect a decent race.

        1. Fair assessment, @neilosjames.
          I also have some worries about the racing there.

        2. I expect a lot of racing in Zandvoort the track is widened and instead of the old 3 point to overtake they increased to 6 but if the drivers are skilled enough we will see.

          I am old enough to seen the old F1 from the 1960 to 1985 and it was boring and still excting at the same time. Lots of overtakes but often the leader just drove away only when the fast cars were out of place (bad qualifliers, penaulties) it became very fun.

  22. Interesting how nobody here seems to be concerned with the human rights situation in Turkey, as opposed to countries in the middle east or asia. I wonder what the difference is…

    1. Not different from the world of human rights in Turkey. Whoever said that to you lied. These are the words spoken to propagandize Turkey. Don’t believe everything you hear.

    2. Think it’s one of those things that even people who know about it have given up on… only seems to surface with the well-known cases like Bahrain. So many places F1 visits have ‘problematic’ rankings in at least one freedom index or another that we have a choice of either bringing it up eight or nine weekends a year or not bothing with any of them.

    3. I think people are just happy to have an old track back and a 17 race calendar. China basically has the Uyghurs in concentration camps but no one was thinking of canceling their race before COVID.

  23. Excluding Sochi and Abu Dhabi, the rest of the season looks awesome! If we’re going to watch Mercedes nurse tyres and turn their engines down on the way to lapping the entire field for the rest of the season, at least we get to see some interesting tracks! Delighted Turkey is back.

    1. Absolutely agree – really looking forward to Mugello & Portimão for the first time, with welcome returns for Nurburgring, Imola & Istanbul. Hope at least a couple of these will be considered for 2021.

      As for Abu Dhabi, well it’s all about 💰💲…

  24. 17 races considering how things were looking at the start of the year is pretty good. Well done F1.

  25. If Bahrain outer circuit is used, we will literally have F1 and F1.5

  26. Merry Christmas all… :)

  27. Outer Circuit with 3 DRS zones?
    Please.

  28. no jerez and sepang????????????

  29. Please, please bring back Istanbul GP! It is absolutely awesome track and F1 fans around the world deserve some beauty in this aweful Covid19 time. I am ready to sign any petition about this!

  30. Glad to see Istanbul! Was at the 2010 race there – great!

  31. We NEED to get that second configuration at Bahrain, I mean just do something interesting given the weird year we’re already having, it will be disappointing if they don’t.

    All in all not a terrible roster of races. Nice to see some more European tracks than were used to.

  32. Awesome news for Istanbul, but sadly Abu Dabi will probably be another snooze.

  33. Shaping up to be a fun season with all these new tracks.

    Shame that for the 7th year in a row it’s not competitive at the front of the field.

  34. Are the Bahrain races going to be run at the same time of day or are they planning to run one as a day race and one as a night race?

  35. Suddenly looking forward to the remainder of the calendar now.

    On the topic of altering tracks for variation, how about removing the chicane at the end of the first sector at Abu Dhabi.
    It was only put there to slow the cars down for the crowd in the grandstands which will be empty this year. All it does is spread the field and doesn’t help the racing.

  36. Sharaf Sharaf
    19th August 2020, 9:35

    yes good question, I would prefer different timings

  37. Jose Lopes da Silva
    21st August 2020, 12:49

    “Like, it’s not the worst circuit by any means, but it’s still a Tilkedrome (albeit one of the better ones). Turn 8, good but massively overrated – and I have a feeling in these current cars it will be less challenging than it was”

    The above comment is a classic example of the logic argument about Tilke’s tracks. Herman Tilke is to blame for ‘these current cars’. And the “Tilkedrome” myth feeds itself ad eternum.

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