Do I make the (FIA) grade?

The global pandemic has put the world on pause. Formula 1 has been no exception. It’s fair to say F1 2020 will be a very different season. Not just the races themselves but where F1 might end up as it tries to piece together a championship.

With an ever increasing list of cancelled races that includes Monaco, Japan, Singapore and Azerbaijan to name a few.

It has left Formula 1 with a bit of a headache, where do they go? How do they hold a credible championship?

Well as of today we have 8 races confirmed, held over 10 weeks, but most notably all within Europe.

What other options do Formula 1 have? If they lose more races, which seems likely as the pandemic moves around the world. Where could they race?

For a track to be in contention for a Formula 1 race it need to meet FIA safety standards, Formula 1 requires the circuits to be GRADE 1, the highest grade in the FIA scale.

FIA has granted 44 grade 1 licences to circuits in 30 different countries. With with a scheduled 22 race calender, we have 22 tracks that in theory could hold an F1 race.

Lets have a look at some Grade 1 tracks that could step in for the 2020 F1 season.

Hockenheim

Who can forget the 2019 German GP?

Hockenheim was the scene of one of the most chaotic GP’s of last season, who can forget seeing Hamilton slide off and damage his wing and the 50+ second pit stop, Hulkenburg in a podium place only for him to crash out. I could go on

Hockenheim is situated in Hockenheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. In its current layout it has 15 corners over a distance of 3.629km.

Most F1 fans will know of this track. Should it return to the calender for this year (it had dropped from the original calender due to financial issues) it wouldn’t be a big surprise to many.

Formula 1 has held discussions with the tracks promoters regarding a race, however nothing has been confirmed. At one point it was a back up for the British GP, before races at Silverstone had been confirmed.

Estoril

F1 has not been here since 1996….

Another familiar name within F1, this track has held a number of F1 races, the last being in 1996.

Officially known as Autodromo Fernanda Pires da Silva, the current layout has 13 corners at a distance of 4.182km.

At the time of writing the track does have a Grade 1 licence, however not much has been mentioned on whether discussions have or even will be held.

Imola

Could we see an old favorite return to the F1 calender?

Another track that has seen it fair share of F1 action is the officially named Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. This venue has a history with Formula 1 going back years. It set the stage for some amazing races and some tragic events. The 1994 San Marino GP will forever be etched into the memories of Formula 1 and all those that are connected to the sport.

In it’s Current layout, the track has 21 turns and a distance of 4.909km. It is situated in Imola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

Formula 1 has held discussions with the track promoters, it would seem that an Imola GP is almost certain. Imola only in the last few days renewed it’s FIA Grade 1 Licence.

Autodromo Internacional do Algarve

The undulating nature of the Portimao Circuit, could help to bring some exciting racing to F1 this season.

This is where things get interesting. A few days ago a portugese newspaper reported that F1 were talking to the promoters of this track to hold 2 races in 2020.

The interesting part of this news is that Formula 1 has never raced at this track, which is commonly known as Portimao Circuit. The track was mentioned in 2009 by Max Mosley, the FIA president at the time, that it could be used as a venue if commercial rights could be agreed.

The track has 19 corners and covers a distance of 4.692km. It has been described as a mixture of Nurburgring and Spa, mostly due to its undulating nature, with big downhill slopes and good opportunities to pass due to the width of the track.

It can only be a good thing to be heading to a new venue, especially one with such an old school vibe to it.

Mugello

Ariel Shot of the Mugello Circuit, with its fast sweeping corners it would be a challenging track for F1 drivers.

Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello is one that seems be in with some serious contention to hold a race in 2020.

A mainstay with the World Superbikes, it knows how to handle top level motorsport. With the recent cancellation of the 2020 World Superbike round at Mugello, questions were asked as to whether an F1 race could happen at the track.

It would be more possible now as the track has more free space for F1 to work with.

The track is situated at Scarperia e San Piero Tuscany, Italy. It has 14 corners at a distance of 5.245km.

The track has received some high praise from Mark Webber, who tested at the track in 2012. He did warn that the drivers would experience some high G- Forces due to the flowing corners and a 0.7mile straight.

“Did 10 dry laps today around Mugello, which is the same as doing 1000 laps around Abu Dhabi track in terms of satisfaction” #realtracks #fast

Mark Webber, Twitter 9.20pm- May 1st, 2012

There are a few options that F1 could use if the European leg of the calender has to be extended. I hope that they pick something that could offer some exciting racing.

Lets be honest who wants a double header in Sochi?

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