Formula 1 has named the races that will conclude the 2020 season.
Four Grands Prix in three countries – Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi – will bring the calendar to a total of 17 races, the lowest number since 2009.
The Turkish Grand Prix on 15 November marks a return for the Istanbul Park track for the first time in nine years.
Bahrain will host two races, on 29 November and 6 December, before the season concludes at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina track on 13 December.
F1 had been working on plans to hold races in China and Vietnam in November but those hopes have now been dashed.
The Chinese Grand Prix has been officially cancelled and while there is no official word on the Vietnamese race, that will not happen either.
Officials in Vietnam needed more time to formalise arrangements internally, but an official cancellation is expected soon.
An F1 spokesman said: “We are working closely with our partner in Vietnam and will provide an update on this shortly.”
F1 said it was working on having “a limited number of fans” at some of the races, without providing details.
The Russian GP at the end of September has already said it plans to allow some spectators to attend.
F1 has been battling to finalise its calendar in the face of the challenges posed by coronavirus for some months as travel restrictions and virus outbreaks around the globe caused an ever-changing situation.
A statement said: “Due to the ongoing fluidity of the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to maintain close dialogue with all promoters and local authorities to ensure we operate in the safest way possible and monitor each national situation closely – including travel restrictions and local health procedures.”
This will be the first season since the inception of the F1 world championship in 1950 that will have no race in the Americas, and the first time since 1970 that there has been none in South America.
And it will be the first season since 1986 that there has been no Grand Prix in Asia, and the first since 1984 that Australia has not held a race.
F1 chairman and chief executive officer Chase Carey said: “This year has presented F1 and the world with an unprecedented challenge and we want to pay tribute to everyone across F1, the FIA, the teams, and our partners who have made this possible.
“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 first 10 races of the season were either postponed or cancelled, starting with the Australian Grand Prix in March, which was called off on the Friday before the race with all teams already in Melbourne after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for coronavirus.
The problems caused by the spread of Covid-19 has meant F1 has been forced to reconstitute an almost entirely European calendar, with many of the races on tracks that had either not held a Grand Prix before or had fallen off the schedule some years ago.
The three events concluding the season are the only races on the 2020 calendar outside geographical Europe.
The Istanbul Park track is on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. Sochi, which hosts the Russian Grand Prix on 27 September, is on the Black Sea coast in the European part of the federation.
source: Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer(BBC sports)