As the 2019 Formula 1 season came to a stop at Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton finished the season in style on the top step of the podium. It’s time lay the tools down and look ahead to the 2020 Formula 1 season. There are some changes we briefly point out and we look at all the new stuff coming to us in the new season.
With massive changes coming up in 2021, we almost forget there are also some changes that will be in effect from 2020 already.
The chequered flag will be reinstated as the official signal to end the race. Eventhough the chequered flag was still waved at the end of the race, the official signal was a led screen, which was leading to an error and a one lap too early finish at the Japanese Grand Prix last year.
To make the traditional F1 winter testing more appealing to both visitors and media, teams are prohibited from using garage screens. It will be more difficult to keep their 2020 concepts hidden from the competition.
Do you miss the signal to stop at a weigh bridge? FIA won’t be as strict as previous years, as stewards get more flexibility in penalizing this mistake. The same goes for a jump start, this year it could result in a 10 second stop-and-go or a drive-through penalty, from 2020 on there will be a 5 or 10 second time penalty.
After qualifying the drivers who finish inside the top 10 (Q3) should start he race on the tires they set the fastest lap on in Q2, even if they decide to start from the pitlane. In 2020 this changes, as all drivers that start from the pitlane can start on a fresh set of Pirelli tires they wish to choose.
A change in regulations for sampling and testing of fuels should prevent discrepancies in the number of kilograms the teams declare and the actual amount that is found in the tanks. This rule change follows after Ferrari was found to have about 5 kilograms more fuel in the car of Charles Leclerc than they declared to the FIA.
It is no secret that the Liberty Media, the owners of the Formula one rights, would like more races on the calendar. In 2020 the total number of races will be a whopping 22, which will draw a switch on teams, drivers and mechanics. This number of races is thought to be the absolute maximum, pushing everyone working in the sport to their very limits. When the number gets higher, teams should think about multiple shifts to make sure employees get enough time off during the year.
New tracks in 2020
There is actually one track that is completely new on the Formula 1 calendar in 2020, that is of course the 5,565km long street circuit in Hanoi, Vietnam. The track is being preparedat this very moment and it should be ready in time for the race weekend in the beginning of April. If everything goes according to plan, the track will be ready in January and the organisation can start with the event buildup right after that.
The Netherlands, Zandvoort
This Grand Prix, unlike the new Vietnam GP, is not as new as it looks like. In 1985 the last Formula 1 race on this Dutch track was won by the late Niki Lauda. But there are some massive changes made to the track, this to make sure it lives up to modern safety and comfort standards. The Grand Prix is already sold out and the event organiser even sold tickets for the 2021 and the 2022 edition. Expectations are that the track will be covered by an orange army, as there will be plenty of Max Verstappen fans present.
More about the changes to Circuit Zandvoort
Other Calendar changes in 2020
Other changes on the F1 2020 calendar are the change of the Azerbaijan GP which moves from July to April. Also the races in the US and Mexico swap places again. Germany will not host a Grand Prix next year, as Hockenheim loses its place on the calendar, leaving Zandvoort, Belgium, Austria and Hungary as the closest races for German fans.
“The track will be covered by the Orange Army”
Teams will mostly stay the same
There are no new entries for the 2020 F1 season, but we will have to get used to the Toro Rosso name not being around anymore. The team stays in Formula 1, but under the name of Scuderia Alpha Tauri after the Red Bull fashion brand.
Drivers: 1 newbie and 1 comeback!
No big shocks here, for the most teams the driver line up will stay the same as in 2019, but the 2 changes are obviously worth to be mentioned. Nico Hulkenberg unfortunately leaves Formula 1, and his seat will be filled by Mercedes reserve and former Force India driver Esteban Ocon after one year of absence. The only real newbie is Canadian Nicholas Latifi, who will fit the seat of Robert Kubica next to George Russell. Latifi managed to finish second in the 2019 Formula 2 Championship.
Pirelli will stay on as the tire supplier in 2020 and even developed new improved tires, but these new tires won’t be used as the F1 teams unanimously voted against the new tires. So for 2020 the ‘old’ 2019 compounds will be used. From 2021 the all new 18 inch tires and rims (rims produced by BBS) will be introduced, which will first make an entrance in 2020 in the Formula 2 series.
The racing in 2020
With nice battles in the midfield in 2019, with McLaren coming out as the ‘Formula 1.5’ winner, the start of the 2020 season is looking very promising. Also Red Bull and Ferrari came closer to Mercedes at the second half of the 2019 season, will they be able to continue their improved speed in the New Year? We will get a glimpse of that at the Winter tests in February, but we will only know for sure when the lights go out in Albert Park, Melbourne.