Formula One confirms revised 17-race schedule ending on December 13

The Formula One season will finish just 12 days before Christmas after the sport’s bosses rubber-stamped a final 17-race calendar.

Four rounds were added to the schedule on Tuesday, with F1 set to return to Turkey for the first time in nine years.

Bahrain will then host two races before the season-concluding grand prix in Abu Dhabi on December 13 – a date which could see Lewis Hamilton crowned world champion for a record-equalling seventh time.

It marks the latest finish to an F1 season since 1963 and the fewest races staged in a year since Jenson Button drove to his sole world championship in 2009.

The Chinese Grand Prix has officially been cancelled, while the inaugural Vietnamese race in its capital of Hanoi, which had been set to take place in April, will now have to wait until 2021.

An F1 statement also said that “a number of races” this season would be open to a limited number of fans.

The PA news agency understands fans could return for the September 13 race in Mugello – which marks Ferrari’s 1,000th grand prix – and the rounds that follow. However, the final race in Abu Dhabi is unlikely to be open to spectators.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey said: “We are proud to announce that Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be part of our 2020 season.

“This year has presented Formula One and the world with an unprecedented challenge and we want to pay tribute to everyone across Formula One, the FIA, the teams, and our partners who have made this possible.

Chase Carey
Chase Carey

“While we are all disappointed that we have not been able to return to some of our planned races this year, we are confident our season has started well and will continue to deliver plenty of excitement with traditional, as well as new, races that will entertain all our fans.”

The return to Turkey’s Istanbul Park – a venue used by F1 from 2005 to 2011- will take place on November 15.

The Bahrain races are pencilled in for November 29 and December 6 ahead of the final round at the Yas Marina Circuit a week later.

The 2020 calendar had been set to include a record-breaking 22 rounds before the coronavirus pandemic forced the sport’s bosses to tear up the schedule.

Lewis Hamilton holds the championship lead
Lewis Hamilton holds the championship lead

This weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps will be the seventh of a whirlwind campaign with 17 races taking place in five and a half months.

Following Sunday’s race at Spa-Francorchamps, the circus will then move on to Monza (September 6), Mugello (September 13) and Russia a fortnight later. Germany’s Nurburgring (October 11), Portimao (October 25) in the Algarve, and Imola (November 1) will also stage rounds before the concluding four grands prix announced on Tuesday.

Hamilton holds a 37-point lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as he bids to match Michael Schumacher’s championship record.