Formula One has confirmed three new races on its 2020 calendar, with the addition of the Nurburgring in Germany, Portimao in Portugal and Imola in Italy.
The three races will take place in October and early November, plugging the gap left by cancelled races in Japan, the U.S.A. and Mexico. Nurburgring and Imola return to the calendar after lengthily absences, while F1 cars will race at Portimao for the first time.
Portimao is set to allow the attendance of a limited number of fans, while other venues remain in discussions about opening their doors to the public. Imola is being planned as a two-day event, which would result in Friday practice being removed from the schedule subject to FIA approval.
The three new races bring the total number of confirmed rounds on the 2020 calendar to 13, with F1 still planning to finish the year with two rounds in Bahrain and a season finale in Abu Dhabi by mid-December. The sport is in discussions about holding races in Asia in November, with Vietnam still a possibility and Malaysia rumoured as another potential venue.
F1 said it continues to target between 15-18 races and is expecting to release the final details of its 2020 calendar in the coming weeks. However, in the same announcement F1 also confirmed races in the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil and Canada would not go ahead.
“We are pleased that we continue to make strong progress in finalising our plans for the 2020 season and are excited to welcome Nürburgring, Portimao and Imola to the revised calendar,” F1 CEO Chase Carey said. “We want to thank the promoters, the teams, and the FIA for their full support in our efforts to bring our fans exciting racing this season during an unprecedented time.
“We also want to pay tribute to our incredible partners in the Americas and look forward to being back with them next season when they will once again be able to thrill millions of fans around the world.”
F1 last raced at the Nurburgring in 2013 on the Grand Prix circuit — as opposed to the famous Nordschleife layout which was last used for an F1 race in 1976 — as part of an alternating deal to host the German Grand Prix with Hockenheim. This year’s return will be the first time the race has been hosted so late in the year at the venue, although the first race held at the Grand Prix circuit in 1984 took place on October 7 that year.
Average temperatures in October range between 5.9C and 12.5C, which is lower than normally expected at a race weekend. The race will be called the Eifel Grand Prix, harking back to the historic Eifelrennen name used for pre-war grands prix at the original Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit.
The race at Portimao will be called the Portuguese Grand Prix and will see the return of F1 racing in Portugal for the first time since the 1996 Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. Portimao has not hosted a grand prix before but was used for a pre-season test in 2009.
The race at Imola will be known as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and will be the first time F1 has raced at the venue since the last San Marino Grand Prix in 2006. It will become the third F1 race to be held in Italy this year, following the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the Tuscany Ferrari 1000 Grand Prix at Mugello in September.
The Imola layout was changed in 2007 for safety reasons and the circuit was given Grade 1 status, allowing it to host F1 races, in 2011.