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Vietnam's debut, Max Verstappen back home: 5 things to know about Formula One’s record-breaking 2020 calendar

The most packed calendar in history, one returning race and a completely new one – here’s what’s in store for F1 fans in 2020.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 31, 2019, 05.56 PM IST
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​ Formula One announced a draft calendar of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship ​on Thursday.
Formula One announced a draft calendar of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship on Thursday.
After much debate and speculation, Formula One announced on Thursday a draft calendar of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship with an unprecedented 22 Grands Prix, thanks to the recent one-year extension of the Spanish Grand Prix. But that’s not the only change in store.

Here’s what you need to know about the surprises in Formula One’s 70th anniversary season:

Seven back-to-back race weekends
Scheduling 22 Grands Prix in a March to November calendar is no easy task but the 2020 calendar manages to cram them in with seven back-to-back race weekends.

The season kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix and the Bahrain Grand Prix back to back on March 15th and March 22nd. May sees another back-to-back race weekend with Netherlands and Spain, followed by Azerbaijan and Canada, France and Austria.

After the much needed mid-season break, the driver head into another block of back-to-back race weekends with the Spa and Monza circuit (August 30th and September 6th) and Singapore and Russian on September 20th and September 27th respectively.

The final back-to-back race weekend will see the drivers battling it out in North America with USA on October 25th and the Mexico City Grand Prix on November 1st.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to race in front of his home crowd
While the Dutchman is no stranger to the Zandvoort circuit, this is the first time he’ll be racing within the official calendar as Formula One returns to Zandvoort for the first time since 1985.

During the formal announcement back in May, Formula One Management chairman Chasey Carey had said, "The Grand Prix of Zandvoort has a great history, the passion in the Netherlands is great partly thanks to Max Verstappen and we wanted a new race in Europe for this generation."

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing talks to the crowd from the fan stage after practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 30, 2019 in Spa, Belgium.

Vietnam to make its F1 debut
Set to become one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar, the very first Vietnam Grand Prix will take place on a 5.57km, 22 turn street circuit designed to create overtaking opportunities on its long straights. The Hanoi Motor Sport Circuit has been designed by Tilke Engineers & Architects in partnership with F1’s Motorsports team and borrows heavily from circuits like Nurburgring and Suzuka.

Triple calendar booking for motorsport fans
Motorsport fans are in for a gruelling weekend next June when the Canadian Grand Prix clashes with the2020 Le Mans 24 Hours and the season finale of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championships.

A similar clash occurred a few years ago when the Azerbaijan Grand Prix clashed with the Le Mans in 2016.

On and off the calendar
While Australia, Great Britain and the more recent Azerbaijan have renewed their contracts, Germany has once again fallen off the calendar. The Hockenheim race had managed to stay on the calendar for 2019, but a further extension for 2020 wasn’t possible.

Spain was also expected to be dropped but organisers managed to secure a new deal for 2020. Mexico also manged to secure a deal to stay on the calendar for the next three years (at least until 2022), under the title of Mexico City Grand Prix. An extension to the contract with the Italian Grand Prix is still being finalised.

Chinese Grand Prix, Narain Karthikeyan’s 2005 Debut And Other F1 Milestones To Remember

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Aged 44, Dr Giuseppe Farina won the inaugural F1 season in an Alfa Romeo car. Incidentally, Farina, who held a doctorate in political science, died in a car crash in 1966.
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