IT seems like an eternity ago when the opening race of the 2020 Formula 1 season – the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne – was suddenly cancelled in mid-March.
But with COVID-19 restrictions easing in Europe and a comprehensive racing safety plan being introduced, the F1 racing cars will roar back to life from July 3-5 at the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg, which will serve as the new host for the opening two races.
The revised F1 calendar is expected to include up to 17 races until December, with the opening eight to be hosted at spectator-free tracks in Austria, Hungary, Silverstone in the UK, Barcelona, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, and Monza in Italy. Each round will also feature F2 and F3 races.
With a new and improved car, dubbed by some rivals as the ‘pink Mercedes’, there are high hopes for team Racing Point, featuring Jewish Canadian driver Lance Stroll.
Bolstered by a contract extension and several top 10 race placings last season, Stroll, 21, is feeling confident, and looked sharp during a practice day at his team’s home track, Silverstone, on June 17.
“It was great to be back in the car – it had been a while,” Stroll said.
“Now I’m super excited about the first race [in Austria].”
A rising star to look out for this season is 25-year-old Israeli Roy Nissany, who first captured attention at F3 level in 2016 when he won back-to-back races.
Returning from a year off, Nissany will compete in the F2 for Italian team Trident, while also gaining F1 experience this season as a test driver for Williams.
“Immersing myself in the team will be invaluable,” Nissany said.