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F1's ultimate headache for the 2020 season finale

A clash with the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina caused the venue to further delay the confirmation of F1's season finale on December 13.

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F1's ultimate headache for the 2020 season finale
Fuente imagen: F1.com

A total of 8 European races have been confirmed by F1 thus far, as Liberty Media and the FIA are closely working with further venues to reach the targeted number of 15-18 races by the end of the year. The season finale is expected to take place at Abu Dhabi, but the way the Covid-19 emergency is being tackled might not be the only headache the sport is actually facing. In fact, the calendar jigsaw appears to be far more complicated than it seems due to the accumulation of events in the second half of the year.


The Gulf 12 Hours currently stands out as the real skeleton at the feast to confirm the closing dates of the 2020 F1 calendar. A double header in Bahrain is set to take place before the finale in Abu Dhabi, whose date would hypothetically be shifted to the December 11-13 weekend. However, the Yas Marina circuit had already scheduled the Gulf 12 Hours on that date, which inevitably delayed the confirmation of the final F1 dates further due to contractual issues.

It is understood that ongoing talks are being held to work towards striking a compromise between F1 and the Gulf 12 Hours. However, as things currently stand, the endurance event appears to be extremely profitable, as the 2020 entry list has nearly doubled up in size compared to last year. Approximately 60 cars are currently vying for a spot on the grid compared to a total of 30 cars on the grid in 2019, as an increasing quantity of teams involved in the endurance field are on the lookout for a potential outlet to spend their funds on by the end of 2020. The Gulf 12 Hours race has indeed emerged as the perfect occasion for many due to the fact that it was scheduled later in the year, implying that Covid-19 would not impact the feasibility of the event.

The Gulf 12 Hours spiked in popularity at the end last year, owing to the participation of 9-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi. More mediatic attention was drawn to the event, as Rossi eventually cruised to victory along with his half-brother Luca Marini and Alessio Salucci. Unprecedented coverage from all over the world and the motorbike field therefore enhanced the prestige of the Gulf 12 Hours.

Regardless of the optimism surrounding the event, it is mandatory to keep an eye on the infection rate in the UAE, whose latest sudden rise prompted the government to enforce an additional one-week lockdown in Abu Dhabi, banning movement in and out of the capital city.

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