The 2020 Formula 1 season was just about to commence when the coronavirus lockdown swept across the world.
The Australian Grand Prix was called off just two days before it was due to take place and was followed by a spate of cancellations which led to the entire season being postponed.
However, with many countries now relaxing restrictions, a limited race calendar has been agreed. There are eight Grands Prix scheduled across six circuits, with more set to be added later in the year.
We’ve analysed how the changes from the original schedule will affect the leading drivers and potentially influence the 2020 Formula 1 Championship.
Projecting the average number of points won by each driver at each circuit – using their career average for the two new ones – would give Lewis Hamilton a commanding lead of 344 points, but how do the various cancellations and postponements affect this?
Of the drivers who were set to earn at least 100 points according to this method, Daniel Ricciardo should be the most disappointed with the current calendar. The seven cancelled races would typically account for over 28% of his points tally over a season, compared to just over 20% for Charles Leclerc.
The cancellation of the Monaco Grand Prix is a bitter blow for Ricciardo, who has earned an average of 10.8 points there compared to just 5.9 at other circuits.
The Australian may also be hoping that the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi is cancelled rather than rescheduled, given his miserable average return of just 2.3 points there.
Leclerc will be the happiest with the current schedule, as the six confirmed circuits typically generate a third of his championship points over a season.
However, his average performance would still leave him substantially off the pace, especially when we factor in the additional races being held at both the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone.
Projecting each driver’s average number of points earned across the eight confirmed races would give Hamilton 124 points and his nearest challenger, Sebastian Vettel, just 91.
While Ricciardo may be happy to avoid racing at Sochi this year, Hamilton will surely miss it.
Along with the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, it has been one of the world champion’s happiest hunting grounds.
Both circuits have provided an average of more than 21 points per race, so their appearance in the 2020 race schedule would boost the British driver’s chances of securing a seventh world title.
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