"It's lights out here at Albert Park as we kick off the 2020 Australian Grand Prix. Good start by Verstappen as he is wheel to wheel with Hamilton who's on pole. Lots of drama further back as Grosjean makes his way through the order and he's coming in too fast. He comes on the inside and WOOAAH! We have contact! Grojean takes out 7 cars and also kicks out Williams from the title run already. Hamilton on the team radio: "Tyres are not looking good, they are horrible." while Kimi is engaged in a heated argument with his team principal."
God, this is all we wanted to hear in the starting of the 2020 season. Its been bad news after bad news ever since the start of 2020 season. Thanks to a fellow wanderlust, Corona, the 2020 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled for good. Who knew a Bat could land us all in such a soup.
Formula One caters to 1.9 Billion, that's right, 1.9 Billion viewers as of 2019 season. Cancellation of a sport with such massive following will certainly have its impact. Moreover, it was the first race of the season. But it doesn't stop there. Let's look at all the changes made to this year's calendar.
SIX RACES POSTPONED
Since the cancellation of the Aussie Grand Prix, six races following it have been postponed. The postponed races are the Bahrain Grand Prix, Vietnam grand Prix which got me all excited, the Chinese Grand Prix, the Dutch Grand Prix, the Spanish Grand Prix and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
FIA hasn't officially announced the revised dates for the postponed races but the immediate priority still remains the safety and well being of both the participants and the spectators.
MONACO GP CANCELLED - Yes you read that right!
Monaco has always been considered "THE RACE" to watch. The highly technical circuit around the tight and narrow street circuit of Monte Carlo has entertained us, right from 1955. Hard to break it to you but we would not be witnessing the 2020 Monaco Grand Prix in action. Thunderous sounds of F1 cars roaring along the waterfront filled with Yachts costlier than small towns, where even an overtake is considered a mark of bravery. At least this might be the last of the bad news you're gonna read today.
or is it?
2021 F1 regulations to be delayed until 2022
I really don't want to be the sadist here but I bear more bad news. Remember the dream you had? the one in which F1 was a level playing field, where big budgets meant nothing and even a Racing Point could have ended up finishing in the podium positions? You might want to delay your ambitions here. 2021 regulations which were much awaited by all the fans (except Mercedes fans) has now been postponed to 2022. As per this agreement, teams are now required race their 2020 chassis again in 2021 as well. The idea behind this is to support the teams who are hit hardest financially by the delayed start to this season or the eventual possibility of fewer races in this season, which impacts their income directly. Teams have already invested a huge amount of capital on existing platforms and they cannot justify the investment if they do not bring returns.
This actually worries me personally as I feel teams like Haas and Williams might pull the plug on their racing program as they wouldn't be able to sustain such capital without being able to compete with teams with higher budget and teams backed by a manufacturer. A very sad time to be an F1 fan.
Do not worry, F1 is trying to compensate for the missing race action by live streaming old F1 races which included the crazy 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. If you haven't already watched it yet, I suggest you do immediately. It was a Max Verstappen masterclass,- gaining 11 positions in 16 laps in a soaking wet race with multiple red flags. They also started a brand new series of Virtual Grand Prix, starting with the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix which hosts current and past F1 drivers to compete in a digital platform.
It is still a yellow flag for the 2020 season but hold on tight as it can be lights-out anytime soon. Fingers crossed and let's hope for the best.
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-Aditya Srinath for the drivers hub