The Formula 1 Grand Prix is growing more popular each year, with more and more fans tuning in for the big racing events that take place in many destinations across the globe.
Of course, in 2020 things looked a little different for the F1 Grand Prix. Like many sporting events this year, the F1 racing calendar was affected by the coronavirus pandemic which shut down so many popular sporting franchises and events as organisations worked hard to ensure everyone involved stayed healthy. And while it seemed unthinkable in March of last year, the 2020 F1 season went ahead in July, albeit with some heavy restrictions and changes in place. There were originally planned to be 22 races over the course of the season, but the scheduling changes meant that now only 17 will go ahead, with races being cancelled in destinations including Australia, Monaco, Singapore, Japan, Azerbaijan and Netherlands.
There will also be no fans allowed to watch the races in person, a mass COVID-19 testing programme in places, many social distancing measures required and restricted numbers of team members — all to try and alleviate the spread of the virus and ensure the races that can go ahead, do so without threat of cancellation.
The season so far
Despite the changes that took place as a result of the pandemic, the season so far has already been exciting for drivers and teams — as well as fans.
The first race on July 5th, the Austrian Grand Prix, saw Valtteri Bottas with Mercedes have an astounding win for the season-opener, as teammate Lewis Hamilton suffered a demotion.
July 12th’s race at the Syrian Grand Prix saw Hamilton make his return with a win for Mercedes, while a week later he won again at the Hungarian Grand Prix. This was followed by his hattrick win on August 2nd at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Hamilton has won a further five more races this season, with Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly scoring success and Bottas coming back for another first place finish at the Russian Grand Prix in late September.
An overview of the racetracks
This year there are two new tracks including those at Portugal and Mugello as well as some returning classics including Istanbul Park, Nurburgring and Imola. But anticipation is already building for one of the most exciting of all the tracks, the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir. One of the most well-known circuits in the F1 calendar, this year it’s set to be even more of an adrenaline watch, with it being confirmed that F1 will use the Bahrain’s ‘outer track’ for the Sakhir Grand Prix. The 11-turn outer circuit has previously never been used for an international race; but F1 have conducted a detailed analysis and confirmed it will be the most suitable option for the double header races on December 6th.
The team at Formula 1 have worked together with their partners at the Bahrain International Circuit to assess the outer circuit layout and are hoping it will provide challenges to all teams and entertain fans with high speeds and fast lap times.
The short length of the track means that the Sakhir Grand Prix will be an 87-lap race — making it the second shortest on the calendar after Monaco. This is to ensure that the minimum distance of 305km is met; the most racing laps that will happen in a Grand Prix race in 2020.
Simulations predict that some race laps will be performed in less than 60 seconds. The only time a sub-60s pole time in F1 history was back in 1974 after Niki Lauda in his Ferrari managed to lap Dijon-Prenois in 58.79s.
Following on from the confirmation of the use of the outer track in Bahrain, fans are already waiting and counting down the days in anticipation. Fans across the world will be tuning in to see the F1 drivers’ speed round the much shorter track in hopefully record time.
The F1 Grand Prix has become more popular than ever with viewers around the world. In its fourth year of its sale to Liberty media, it’s rising especially gaining a fan base in America, where it has previously been a struggle to break the market. The legalisation of sports betting has also contributed to this fan base in the USA with citizens in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and several other states now able to legally bet on major sporting events like the F1 Grand Prix. With many countries across the globe now following and betting on the different Grand Prix’s, there is no wonder that the viewership of the iconic races are rising ever year, with a steadily expanding fan base.
What fans can expect
There are certainly many predictions already being made about how the Grand Prix will progress over the next several months, with Lewis Hamilton’s domination this season certainly on everyone’s minds. Fans can expect some frantic and exciting energy from the Sakhir Grand Prix, especially with the estimation of under 60s laps. There will certainly be lots of people tuning in from around the world to see what Hamilton, Bottas and others bring to the table for the remainder of the season, the Sakhir Grand Prix being one of the highlights.