F1 Calendar News: January 2020 Round-Up

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The Hanoi Street Circuit nears completion, attendance figures for 2019 are revealed and could Formula 1 be heading to Panama in the near future? Here’s a round up of all the latest F1 calendar news!

Britain best attended, Mexico best promoter

Formula 1 released attendance figures for the 2019 season in December. The figures showed a 1.75% year-on-year increase, with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone being the best attended race of the season once again. Read more about 2019’s attendance figures here.

At the annual FIA Prize Giving Gala, the Mexican Grand Prix once again won the best promoter award. It was the fifth season that the Mexican event has won the award, having been victorious in every season since it re-joined the calendar. It means that Mexico has won the title six times in total, having also won back in 1986. It overtakes Australia as the event to have been handed the award the most times since it was founded in 1975.

Hanoi work to be completed this month

Work on the Hanoi Street Circuit is set to be completed in January. New photos were released as part of an update in December, showing the laying of asphalt at the Vietnamese track.

In December, a slight modification to the track design was announced. The section around Turn 22, the penultimate corner at the track, has been extended in an effort to increase safety. The change increases the track duration by 0.041km. Turn 22 is just after the pit exit, and the pit-lane has been designed so that cars lose a minimal amount of time when making a pit stop, thus hopefully leading to more varied strategic calls.

Read our Vietnam Grand Prix travel guide if you’re heading to the inaugural event.

A new race in Panama?

Could Panama City become Formula 1’s latest addition to the calendar? At the end of December, plans for a race in the South American city came to light. The original story appeared in local newspaper Mi Diario.

Local architects have completed a feasibility review for holding a Grand Prix in the area from 2023 onwards. The rumour is that Panama would act as a replacement for the Mexican Grand Prix should it fall off the calendar when its current contract ends. The proposed track passes along the city’s bayfront, before roaring through Panama’s banking district.

Zandvoort close to important milestone

Zandvoort continues to gear up for the return of the Dutch Grand Prix in May. New drone footage of the circuit has emerged in recent weeks showing the upgrades to the legendary circuit. Most striking is the banked final turn, which has required extra attention from Geobrugg, who are preparing the track to meet FIA Grade 1 standards.

Meanwhile, speaking to the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com, three-time winner of the Dutch Grand Prix Jackie Stewart expressed his concerns at accessing the circuit on Grand Prix weekend, saying that it was an issue even in his days as a racing driver.

Other news in brief:

  • The devastating bush fires in Australia may have an impact on the season-opening 2020 Australian Grand Prix, with Formula 1 saying that they are monitoring the situation.
  • Following the announcement of F1’s plans to become carbon neutral by 2030, Baku City Circuit released its own sustainability plan in December. Plans include the use of more sustainable materials and a reduction in single-use plastics.
  • Chase Carey says a decision on the Miami Grand Prix is likely to be made before the start of the new season. In the same interview, Carey claims F1 is in serious discussions about new races “in every habitable continent in the world”.
  • Brazilian media reports that Rio have offered R$250 million ($60m USD) to secure the future of the Brazilian Grand Prix at the yet to be built new circuit in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s track boss Vincenc Aguilera has said that the venue will require financial “help” if it is to stay on the calendar as host of the Spanish Grand Prix beyond 2020.

Which Grands Prix will you be attending in 2020? Do you think a race in Panama is a good idea? Leave a comment below!

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About the Author ()

Nicky Haldenby is a Formula One writer from Scarborough, England. Having grown up with F1 often on the TV on Sunday afternoons, Nicky has been following the sport avidly since 2006. After graduating from University in 2015 with a First Class degree in English Language and Literature, he founded his own F1 website and now regularly writes articles about both the sport's history and current affairs.

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